4 out of 5 Stars
Bella Chatham is running out of money fast. She’s about to lose her veterinary practice, her animal shelter, and her home, so when her best friend signs her up for a chance to win five million dollars, she has no choice but to take it. The problem is she has to go on a reality TV show and beat a billionaire in order to win the money. And if she loses? She’ll have to spend the next year as his wife.
Evan Mortimer has never been interested in getting married since women are always after his money. Unfortunately, he won’t get to keep the family business if he doesn’t find a wife and stay married for a year. The reality TV show seems like the perfect opportunity. He’ll easily beat Betty Bumpkin and make her his wife for a year with an ironclad prenuptial agreement. Only, he doesn’t count on falling in love with her and her own determination to win.
A billionaire romance, a cowgirl, and reality TV … this combination intrigued me from the start. I’m not typically fond of cowboy novels, but this is the third book I’ve ready by Cora Seton and she has yet to disappoint me. In The Cowgirl Ropes a Billionaire, both main characters have an issue to solve, giving them each the resolve to come out as the winner of the game. Even the secondary characters, the producer and the TV crew, have their own reasons for wanting the show to succeed, and the reader is given a glimpse of all of this as we move through the plot.
Bella may not have been the strongest female lead character, but she loved animals and was determined to save as many as she could. In order to do that, she needed to keep her shelter open. As the story progressed, we found out more and more about why Bella was so determined to save the animals. Evan, who didn’t give her enough credit at the start, also learned there was more to Bella than just some country girl who liked animals.
And then there was gorgeous billionaire Evan. For a while, Bella had trouble understanding why he wouldn’t just pay someone to be his wife. But as Evan revealed himself to us, we got to fall in love with him right along with Bella. Evan was by no means a perfect man. He had moments of extreme anger and sheer idiocy. Thankfully he was able to redeem himself by the end of the story.
I loved the reality TV portion of this story. It was well done and felt realistic—though admittedly I have no idea how a reality TV show is filmed—keeping the reader and the characters on their toes. The TV cameras were always rolling, even at night. Not only did the characters have to guess if the other person was being honest or just doing something for the show, but the reader also had to guess at times. And while either outcome could have worked out for both characters, I liked that I was left guessing who would win right up until the end.
This book was only slightly off of five stars for me. Some parts felt a bit repetitive, like how often Bella wondered if the producer would use her fear of horses against her—of course she would! I also didn’t like one of the things Evan did to give him an edge in the contest. It took me longer than it took Bella to get over it, and I wished it hadn’t been included because it made him seem like a grade-A jerk. But in the end I was still rooting for the couple. The minor grammatical issues didn’t detract from my enjoyment.
I will definitely read more by Cora Seton.