Jake is the first book in Leigh’s new series The Cowboys. I liked Jake Maxwell a lot and I liked the heroine, Isabelle Davenport, equally as much. I also liked how these two took on eleven orphans, whether Jake wanted to or not, and gave them a purpose in life, a reason to live, and respect for themselves.
This book, which begins with Jake being confronted by a bunch of farmers who want his land and are trying to run him off to get it, had an interesting storyline and I had high hopes for it. But as I read the pages, it just wasn’t happening for me. There was lots to say but nothing was said; nothing really happened. Since Leigh sets up a lot of storylines in this book, hopefully, the answers I’m looking for will appear in the remaining books of the series. If the answers aren’t in there, then I will definitely be disappointed, for Jake left a lot of questions hanging.
In the course of the story, Jake and Isabelle try to sort out their feelings for each other, there is a cattle drive, and the orphans Isabelle has brought West to find homes for, bond during this time when they all have to work together to get Jake’s cows to market.
Now, I liked the relationship between Jake and Isabelle (even though they argued all the time), and I liked the relationship between Jake and the boys. But I felt that Leigh wasn’t using his words as wisely as he could have. This book could have (and should have) been so much better, especially since it’s the introduction to his new Cowboys series.
It’s been awhile since I’ve read a book that had lots of promise but didn’t fulfill what it set out to do. There was no real excitement in this book – there should have been more interaction between Jake and the bad guys. The bad guys showed up three times in the whole book. Most of the time, Jake was worrying about the farmers running him off, training the boys in a couple of days to be cowboys, and then getting his herd to market. On top of that, I had a very hard time keeping everybody straight, there were just too many characters and not enough background on each orphan to keep things straight in my head about who was who.
This is a romance – there should have been more interaction between Jake and Isabelle. He kissed her a couple of times, and there were two brief love scenes in nearly 400 pages! Maybe I should re-phrase that – there was lots of interaction between Jake and Isabelle but not enough build up in their relationship. There was a little sexual tension, but not the increasing sexual tension it should have had, certainly not for a romance. While I didn’t want them hopping in and out of bed every five pages, I wanted a little more sizzle between them; a little more fulfilling of their love, even if it wasn’t sexual. It seemed like the only time Jake kissed Isabelle, he ended up making love to her. There’s nothing wrong in that, but half the reason for reading a love story is the build-up to them making love. I can honestly say though, that the short love scene where they made love for the first time was a good, not great, but a good love scene.
While I’m willing to believe that this is just the first book and the beginning of the series and that it will get better as the series progresses, I’m afraid I am going to be disappointed. Jake is as far from satisfying as Rose in the Seven Brides series was satisfying. I devoured Rose like a woman who’s been on the desert for days without water. I didn’t do that with Jake and in the end, I felt that I was more reading a book in order to write a review than to enjoy a story. That’s too bad because I really like Leigh Greenwood’s books and I had high hopes for this one. I will give Leigh the benefit of the doubt and wait to see what happens in Ward.