Review of A Tall, Dark Cowboy Christmas

A Tall, Dark Cowboy Christmas (A Gold Valley Novel) by [Yates, Maisey]

A Tall, Dark Cowboy Christmas

Maisey Yates

HQN Books

September 25, 2018

BlurbIt’s Christmas in Gold Valley, and this wounded widower is about to get another shot at love…

Grant Dodge didn’t expect to find a woman sleeping in an abandoned cabin on his family ranch. Or to find her so intriguing. Unlike every other woman in town, McKenna Tate doesn’t know Grant’s a widower. There’s no pity in the looks she gives him. McKenna wants him, and Grant has forgotten what it’s like to feel like a man. A no-strings fling for Christmas might be the kind of holiday cheer Grant needs…

With only a suitcase to her name, McKenna came to Gold Valley to confront her birth father. She didn’t plan to work at the Dodge ranch or fall for the gorgeous cowboy who keeps his heart roped off. But there’s no denying the way their broken pieces fit together. Hope brought her to Gold Valley—but will it be the gift that could finally heal Grant, and McKenna’s own wounded heart?


If there was ever a situation that proves the futility of rating books by a star (or in my case, butterfly) system, then this novel, A Tall, Dark Cowboy Christmas by Maisey Yates, would be it. I gave the first novel I read by her, Smooth Talking Cowboy, five butterflies, but A Tall, Dark Cowboy Christmas is so much better, it pulls on the heartstrings; it made me smirk and, okay, giggle; it made me cry; and it made me FEEL all the feels. So, what do I do then? Say, well the first butterflies were swallowtails, but these are monarchs? Yep, a dilemma.

We’ve known Grant Dodge through three novels of the Gold Valley series. He’s the middle brother, the functional, almost-alcoholic drinking his pain away, the widower whom everyone pities, which drives him practically insane. He’s been quiet. He’s been moody. And, come on, if you’ve been following the series, you couldn’t wait to read his story because you knew it was going to be something else.

Enter McKenna Tate. She’s sleeping on the floor of a ramshackle, abandoned cabin on the Dodge ranch. She’s homeless and has come to town in hopes of finding her real family. She’s part of the foster system. She’s tough, no one’s fool or victim, but she also has a heart a mile wide. And that’s how Grant comes upon her, cowering, afraid of what’s going to happen to her. Grant’s family takes her in.

Sometimes she wondered if the reason she had hope in her heart was because of all the books she’d read. Because they had often depicted bleak things, and sometimes had shown her things she didn’t like. But they had also taught her things about herself, and things about the world. The terrible things people believed and did, and the wonderful things, too. And the ways in which people could triumph as long as they always believed in something.

And, she has hope, even when she tries not to because she knows better than anyone that hope can sometimes lead to unhappiness. And, perhaps that’s the best description for McKenna Tate: she’s always hopeful.

The two wounded souls, Grant and McKenna are drawn to each other time and time again, even when they decide not to be.

Because this is a romance, you know how the tide is going to turn. But it’s what Yates does in the meantime that makes this novel so sublime. She has written two wonderful characters who have known pain but find healing and joy in each other. An understanding place.

So, I’d like to say this can be read as a standalone, because if you love romance novels, you would love this, but I’m not sure it’s fair. I’ve read the preceding novels and those characters populate this novel. I know how I react when a novel is inundated with characters I know nothing of nor care about. Perhaps, unlike me, that doesn’t bother you. I’ll just say that this is the Christmas romance of the season from all that I’ve read so far, so it’s up to you.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

rating: 5-butterflies

5 out of 5 butterflies


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