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The Hero Of Hope Springs
Maisey Yates

July 21 2020/ ISBN 9781335013514
Romance / Western

Reviewed by Elise Cooper


The Hero of Hope Springs shows why author Maisey Yates is the Queen of the Cowboy stories. The characters are searching to find their place in the world. They are stories of hope, acceptance, love, and family with a small-town romance.

Yates noted, "In the first three books of this series, the heroes are aware of their feelings before the heroine, which is not my tendency."

The Hero Of Hope Springs is a friend to lover story. It delves into the horrific subject of child abuse and the emotional aftermath. The heroine, Sammy Marshall, hides her vulnerability behind a free-spirit attitude. She would have fit perfectly into the sixties, in the age of the flower child. But she always wanted and needed a family. She observed how Ryder Daniels raised his siblings, a family friend, and two cousins after their parents died together in a plane crash. Wanting to be a part of this make-shift family, Sammy shows up at the ranch and joins the clan. It does not take long for Ryder and Sammy to become best friends.

"Sammy saw the Daniels' family as a representation of a community that was built from a tragedy. They are an unconventional family that has a strong support system. A friend of mine who is a new author for Harlequin said something profound to me, 'It's not the characters just falling in love with each other, but also falling in love with the town and community.' They are there for each other. Since she came from an abusive, dysfunctional family, in her mind, seeing the Daniels' family feels like living in an adult free utopia, which she wanted to be a part of. She saw Hope Springs Ranch as a hopeful place, where she would be loved and taken care of. The hero Ryder and his family were her family. Her free spirit attitude covered up her issues, although she was unconventional."

Ryder realizes there is an attraction, but does nothing, not wanting to destroy their strong bond of friendship. But after Sammy approaches him, asking him to choose a baby-daddy, everything becomes complicated. She realizes her best friend Ryder would make the perfect sperm donor, not with a tube, but with actual intimacy. After discovering she is pregnant, Ryder makes it clear he wants to make her an honest woman and wants to marry her. Although she agrees and goes through with it, Sammy still struggles with letting him get to close after seeing her parents' disastrous relationship. Eventually, both realize they are the light to each other's darkness.

"I wrote the relationship where she needed his steadiness, and she allowed him to lighten up. Because she did not want to lose him as her best friend, she kept the relationship as platonic. This is a story of a woman who wants to not lose the friendship of the hero. She needed his strength, and he needed her free-spirit. Sammy calls him an old retired man, which is true symbolically. He worked really hard to get everyone else into a good place. He was their care-taker and gave everything up he dreamed of. Now at the age of 34, he is an empty nester but still tries to protect everyone. He is very traditional while she is very untraditional."

This book has a touching story filled with humor, heartbreak, and finally, love. The characters are brought to life, and readers root for them to find their happiness.

Reviewed 2020