I was very much in two minds about how to review this book. On one hand, the premise - a cowboy stunt rider and a nurse on the set of an Old West TV series - was really unique, and some of the research was superbly done and obviously written from experience, like all the medical stuff and everything to do with the care and training of horses.
On the other hand, I don’t think the author has ever been on the set of a TV series, and definitely has no idea how hedged about with safety and regulations everything to do with stunts is. To begin with, there would be ASPCA representatives on site ensuring the animals’ safety and well-being. And no way would everything about how one stunt was to be done would be left entirely to the discretion of one stunt rider and his horse.
Some parts of the romance in this book were charming; I really liked all the main characters and Aaron and Jenna’s chemistry together was off the charts. Their respective children, Lily and Mason, were adorable, and we saw just enough of Aaron’s brothers to be intrigued about what might happen in their own stories as the series progresses.
On the other hand, what started off as a fairly standard romance, albeit with a unique premise, abruptly switched at around the halfway point of the book into a romantic suspense, and the sudden shift in tone was really jarring. It also strained my belief that the FBI were looking for Jenna’s ex, who was clearly stalking her… but they didn’t even suggest putting her into protective custody or putting agents on her as a protective detail? Instead, they just let Aaron and his brothers set up a gunfight and wander in afterwards to tidy up. I really, really didn’t buy it; the whole thing just seemed contrived to build up the showdown.
I received an ARC of this book for review, and noticed a lot of errors in the form of misplaced or missing punctuation. Generally, I assume these will be fixed in the final release version, but I always check the sample to be sure, and in this case they clearly hadn’t been fixed. On the second page, for example:
“The Bounty Hunter was predicted to do well and word had it. That it would be picked up by the networks for several seasons.”
Why is there a sentence break in the middle there? This should have been picked up by a basic proofread, and there are similar punctuation errors on almost every page.
I reserve one star reviews for absolute trash fire books filled with misogyny, racism and the like, but there is no way I can give this more than two. I certainly expect a book from a reputable small publisher like Wild Rose Press to have better quality editing than this.
All But The Fall is available now.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review through NetGalley.