Book Review: Petticoat Ranch

December 19, 2007 by  
Filed under Book and Movie Reviews

By CRoB (Christian Review of Books)

Yee-haw!  Horses and cattle, ranches and hide-outs, outlaws and cowboys, and some booby traps for good measure—Petticoat Ranch has it all.  The story starts with tougher-than-nails Sophie Edwards, who is trying to raise four girls on her own.  After her husband was hanged by vigilantes, Sophie couldn’t hang onto the ranch, and every man in town proposed to her.  Not feeling safe, she took her daughters and fled into the dense thicket and a one-room shack.  It’s a stormy night when a man barges into their haven, riding fast and hard as if being chased.  When he falls into the gorge, she saves him—even though his pursuers are the same men who killed her husband.  That was shock enough.   But even bigger is the one that greets her when she wipes the mud off her guest’s unconscious face—though she cut him down from the tree herself, she’d swear it’s her husband lying in her mule’s stall.

When Clay McClellen wakes up, he swears it’s in heaven, since those are surely five golden angels tending him.  But it doesn’t take long for reality to set in—those angels are his twin brother’s widow and children, and his duty is clear.  He has to marry Sophie and raise the girls, get the ranch back, and, while he’s at it, lasso some justice.  The vigilantes have to be stopped, and obviously only a man can do it.

Petticoat Ranch is an absolute hoot.  The points of view are vivid and hilarious and will keep the pages turning, as will the non-stop action.  Sophie and Clay are both totally baffled by the idiosyncrasies of the opposite gender, and their expectations of each other are at once laugh-out-loud funny and right on the mark.  Accustomed to surviving just fine without a man, Sophie has a hard time learning to entrust anything to her new husband, and Clay has seen precious few females in his life so he has no idea what to do with a bunch of crying, giggling, screaming girls.

In my opinion, the most compelling piece of the story is the power of prayer portrayed.  Sophie, too busy for eloquence, habitually prays a simple and fervent “Help me help me help me” to God, and God, in turn, allows two different men to hear her and respond.  Through spiritual power and some good ole Yankee ingenuity, the new McClellen clan has to get the best of the bad guys.  More importantly, they have to learn the best of themselves—how to trust each other, how to trust the Lord, and how to forgive.

If you like historical novels or romantic comedy in general, this one is a great choice.  I got through it in an evening and couldn’t put it down until the last page was turned.  Petticoat Ranch will keep you laughing and bring the West to life with Texas-sized action.

Review provided by the Christian Review of Books
Written by Roseanna White.
Their website can be found at


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