Big Sky Summer (Parable, Montana #4)
Linda Lael Miller
Read from my Nan’s stash
Walker Parrish runs a successful business supplying rodeo horses and bulls and lives on a ranch in Parable, Montana. Recently his former flame, country singer Casey Elder moved to town, bringing with her Walker’s two children, Shane and Clare. Although Walker has known for years that he was their father, Casey managed to convince him that she knew best about raising them, taking them on the road with her as she built her career. Walker has never told anyone and neither has Casey – Clare and Shane believed they were conceived in a test tube.
But now Walker has had enough. With Clare and Shane living in town and both spending time with him and looking at him like some sort of fond uncle, Walker is tired of pretending like he doesn’t have a connection to them. Even Casey herself has begun to question her actions and the motives behind them. Even though she agrees that the kids should be told that Walker is their father, she is scared to do it, fearful of their reaction. She knows they’re going to be both devastated and furious that she lied to them for their entire lives, having made no secret of their desire/wish to have a father and said how important it was to them.
It seems like the best way to move forward after the reveal is to do so as a family. Casey has always wanted to protect her children and now it seems that marrying Walker finally and having them all live together under one roof is the only option. This will protect them from vicious gossip and articles when the press get wind of the fact that she has finally revealed their father and it will enable Clare and Shane to spend time with Walker and establish a relationship with him that goes deeper than the one they have. Walker needs to adjust to being a father and they need to adjust to having another parent. Casey and Walker have always struggled with their feelings for each other whenever they’ve been close and now is no exception. Seems that this marriage of convenience is about to get real.
I haven’t read any of the previous books in this series but after the first chapter, which is the wedding of the previous couple and an info dump, it really didn’t matter. Walker and Casey have, at times, been involved in the past, each time seemingly resulting in Casey’s pregnancy. The first time she lied to Walker and told him the baby was another man’s. The second time she confessed it was his (and then Walker figured out so was the older child) but she managed to convince him that it would be best if he never acknowledged this to anyone and that she would raise them as an intentional single mother. I honestly don’t know how or why Walker would’ve agreed to this, it really made no sense and it didn’t really do Casey many favours as a character. It was one thing to deny Walker his parental rights but she also lied to her children from the beginning and denied them the chance to have a father in their lives and be a part of his. Her claims for doing this are so that she wouldn’t be forced into marrying Walker and ending up barefoot and pregnant, forgoing her career but given this book isn’t set in 1880, those claims are very very weak. I’m not sure what’s weaker: Casey’s reasoning or Walker’s passivity with just allowing this to occur. And the few times he attempts to take her to task over cutting him out, Casey bristles and basically says he’s being mean to her. Of course he is – you didn’t want him to acknowledge his own children.
This book asks you to take a huge leap of faith and accept that the three times Walker and Casey slept together, they used a condom and it broke every single time and resulted in her getting pregnant (the third time being just before they got married after Casey and Walker revealed to Clare and Shane that Walker was their father). That’s a pretty big stretch – happening once is unfortunate. Twice and maybe you want to have a look at the brand you’re using and if it’s “operator error” so to speak. Three times? Really? I can’t really get on board with that. Also according to this story, Walker and Casey conceived Clare, but Casey told Walker that it was another man who had impregnated her. There’s only a year between Clare and Shane, so despite the fact that Walker believed Casey was sleeping with someone else at the same time as him, he still slept with her again at some stage. And then after he discovered that she was pregnant to him and had lied about the first baby, he just….did nothing. Stayed in Montana and worked on his ranch and built a friendlyish relationship with the children that were really his but whom he could not acknowledge as being so. It all felt so flimsy and like the characters were so ridiculous in their behaviour that they really had no other option but to end up together finally so that no one else need deal with them. There was some unexplored subplot about Casey’s manager proposing marriage to her out of no where and then just leaving and it fizzling into nothing as well. I don’t even know why that was there because it added nothing to the story.
I was interested in Walkers sister Brylee, who was jilted at the altar years ago (by one of the men who was a hero in a previous book). Her story is next and I’d actually like to read that to see how that goes, given the way she has acted whenever there’s been a wedding in the town, etc. But I honestly hope it’s better than this one.
Book #272 of 2013