Deirdre O’Dare hits another one out of the park with a lovely multi-layered story about healing broken lives, even when that life is one born to privilege, and two men finding common ground and intimacy in unusual circumstances. This is a fairytale and a May-December romance that has the usual ups and downs, ending on a promise and strong hope for the future.
Once more we re-visit The Mule Men in New Mexico were ne’er-do-well young Bobby Estrada finds his way after quite a few poor life choices that leave him ready to turn his life around and do it on his own terms.
The narrative skips across time, never lingering long on any phase, and that is where I would find fault because—quite simply—the author’s enchanting style and knowledge about her subject matter begs for leisurely dallies with the mules and the men who tend to them with such love and devotion.
Yes, it is a fairytale, you must suspend disbelief about certain steps in getting from point A to B, but the outcome is never really in doubt and the ending, though on the vague side, is still sigh-worthy.
This is a solid Four Star read that begs for a follow-up. I simply must know what happens to Bobby and Doyle and the precocious young girl Fiona who gives them all purpose.
Bobby Estrada is tired of school, rules, and boredom. He wants to have adventures. Eventually he arrives in southwestern New Mexico on foot, tired, and hungry. Orr and Jase, the mule men, give him a job mucking corrals. Six months later he has grown up, learned a lot, and bought a young mule to train. That’s when some exotic visitors show up.
Doyle O’Brien, an Irish aristocrat, is dedicated to caring for his young niece for whom he became guardian after her parents were killed in a tragic accident. She was also injured. Young Fiona loves horses and rode well before she became partially paralyzed. When Doyle hears mules are safe and reliable if properly trained, he decides to try to find a small one Fiona can eventually ride. She immediately falls in love with Powwow, the young mule Bobby has begun to train.
In Doyle, Bobby sees his dream prince come to life. In time the O’Briens must go home, taking Powwow. Bobby is determined to go, too. Can an Irish aristocrat and a young Latino cowboy find common ground beyond the lust that sizzles between them and make a modern fairy tale come true?