Phoebe Sloan isn’t afraid of hard work—she couldn’t have survived on the Arizona frontier if she were. But ever since her husband was killed in a ranch accident, she’s struggled to make ends meet and preserve her young son’s birthright.
Her last gamble was to start raising ostriches—the plumes are prized by fashionable city ladies—and it could work, but someone’s determined to sabotage her efforts.
Enter Christian de Wet, a South African importer who finds himself drawn to the fragile but determined Phoebe.
He begins helping her around the ranch as a kindness, but the
two quickly find that the heat rising between them has nothing to do with the Arizona desert! When the saboteur finds a way to endanger not just the ranch, but Phoebe’s family, will she have to forsake her happiness to save her son?
Three stars: A nice romance, but it felt too rushed and the hero was a little too good to be true.
Phoebe Sloan stares at the cloudless sky, worrying again about the lack of rain and the ongoing drought. If rain doesn't come soon, her ostrich ranch in the Arizona desert will be ruined. Then there is here troublesome and meddling brother in law, who is determined to see her fail, even if that means sabotaging her farm. Just when things are the bleakest, Christian de Whet, a South African importer arrives in town with ostriches and a plan to build a dam. He quickly befriends Phoebe and the two form a friendship that blossoms into something more. Will Phoebe with Christian's help save her farm?
What I Liked:
- I am a fan of historical books that feature women fighting to save their land and their family, and this book features a strong woman, determined to run a successful ostrich farm in the Arizona desert. If you like books with courageous heroines this is one to try.
- I loved the Arizona setting. I lived in Phoenix for ten years, so I am familiar with the area and some of the history. I enjoyed learning about how the ostriches came to this part of the country and how they flourished. You can still see large ostrich farms today in parts of Arizona. I found the whole story line surrounding the ostriches and the farms interesting.
- The villain is actually one of the highlights of the story. He is meddling, mean and determined to ruin Phoebe. I thought he was a well written character, and of course, I liked seeing him get what was coming to him.
- July, a South African black man, was my favorite character. I loved how kind and intelligent he was. It was troubling to see him have to face prejudice here in America when he was a Prince in his country, but he took it all in stride. I wish he had a bigger part in the story.
- The ending is nice and neat, no loose strings, or nagging questions. This is a stand alone.
And The Not So Much:
- The romance was too rushed and it felt contrived to me. It had that insta love vibe. I didn't like how quick they were to say I love you and how fast it went down.
- Even though I liked Christian's character, I struggled with him too because he came across to me as being too good to be true. He didn't think and act like a man, he felt like a male character who was written by a woman.
- I also felt like the resolution with Phoebe's father in law and brother in law was a little unrealistic. I found it hard to believe the father in law's sudden change of heart. Yes it was a nice happy ending, but it felt forced.
- There is a big focus early on surrounding the drought and the water troubles. Christian agrees to help the farmers build a dam, but then that story line doesn't develop or go anywhere. I was left wondering what happened with the dam.
Under the Desert Sky was a nice romance, but a little vanilla for me. It has a strong heroine and a likeable male lead, but the romance moves too fast, and I felt like Christian's character was a bit phony. I did like learning more about the ostrich farms in Arizona at the turn of the century. This was a quick, pleasant read for those who like simple, predictable romances. I would have preferred more fire and realism, but it will satisfy those who like nice and easy.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.