By Pema Donyo
A romantic hardened by reality . . .
Evelyn Lancaster turned her back on her love for ranch hand Jesse Greenwood when she was sixteen to pursue a career and marry into wealth that could save her father’s struggling ranch. Now twenty-three, she works hard to keep the property afloat, but no suitor has stirred her heart the way Jesse did. After her father falls ill, she needs all the help she can get to keep the ranch running.
A cowboy returning to what he left behind . . .
After making his fortune, a newly wealthy Jesse has returned home to see his younger sister married. Still smarting from Evelyn’s rejection, he finds the tables have turned, and now only his investment could save the ranch that he vowed to never step foot on again.
When he agrees to help her salvage her family legacy, they must overcome their pride and painful past to work together. As long-held emotions rekindle, Jesse pretends indifference, only to admit his true feelings in an unsigned letter left on Evelyn’s porch.
Evelyn finds the missive and writes back, beginning a furtive correspondence. She dares to hope her mystery admirer is Jesse, but then another man comes forward to claim the letters as his own. Will one last letter give them the courage to say yes to love on the wild Texas plains?
I don’t usually like romances that are centered on situations of miscommunication – they frustrate me and I usually can’t relax enough to enjoy the story. But Donyo does a fantastic job with One Last Letter. The characters are interesting and she really brings to readers the impact of foolish choices made by the young.
Although Jesse and Evelyn have an opportunity for a second chance, their stubbornness and fear of rejection lead to more heartache. I was on the edge of my seat (even though I knew that they were going to get their happy ending) through a good portion of the book and couldn’t decide if I wanted to hug or kick them. I wanted to reach through the pages, lock them in a room together and force them to really talk. But Donyo handled it well and left me smiling.
Full of deeply felt, and long held, love combined with regret and confusion, One Last Letter is a great western romance. With a satisfyingly sweet ending, I was very glad I put aside my prejudices and gave it a chance.