Rancho de Amor

Rancho de Amor

by Dan Harder

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Overview

A modern Western romance for fans of Jane Austen and Zane Grey, Rancho de Amor brings city sensibilities and country values together in a tale rich with wit, irony, and self-discovery.

In a last-ditch effort to save a New York publishing house facing imminent closure, editor Catherine Doyle travels across the country to the small town of Sisquoc, California, in search of the famous Loretta de Bonnair, an elderly recluse and breakout author of the bestselling romance novel that has the nation in a fervor. Despite her own disappointment with love and misgivings about the novel, Catherine’s determined to beat out the competition to offer Ms. de Bonnair a book deal she can’t refuse.

But as Catherine wanders the town interviewing the locals, she slowly realizes something: no one has ever seen the mysterious author. Not even the post office has her address. The only clue to Ms. de Bonnair seems to come in the form of a certain handsome blue-eyed cowboy with a penchant for bar fights. But if Catherine wants to save her job and the publishing house, she’ll have to get closer to this stranger, even if it means trusting him.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This mash-up of literary whodunit, romance, and fish-out-of-water caper defies genres, as Harder whisks us from Manhattan to cowboy country and back again; I’m very happy to have gone along for the ride." —Deborah Bishop, author Hello Midnight, An Insomniac’s Literary Bedside Companion

Rancho de Amor by Dan Harder presents many satisfying surprises as his characters strive for success in both life and love. Vulnerable yet strong, they come alive on the pages. This is a wonderful book—and one I expect could make a terrific film!" —Susan Terris, author Familiar Tense

Steven Winn

"Dan Harder’s Rancho de Amor turns a beguiling mystery about a romance novel into a warm and witty tale of finding love in some very unexpected places. Ingeniously devised and deftly plotted, it unfolds on a richly evoked Central California Coast of vineyards and cattle ranches, in a small town full of charming characters. As the lovers stumble over each other and themselves, this book-with-in-book offers another kind of happy outcome – a reader’s delight in being swept away by a good story."

Leah Garchik

"On the cinematic/literary border between romcom and romance novel, step into every writin’ readin' editin' woman's fantasy: Sam Shepard meets Nancy Drew. Go west, young woman, where adjectives grow into best-sellers. And love flourishes."

author Familiar Tense Susan Terris

"Rancho de Amor by Dan Harder presents many satisfying surprises as his characters strive for success in both life and love. Vulnerable yet strong, they come alive on the pages. This is a wonderful book—and one I expect could make a terrific film!"

cattleman/former manager of the Cojo/Jalama Ranche Brad Lundberg

"It’s a Romance and all, but it’s got a good bit of us in there, too."

Susan Vogel

"Harder masterfully peels back the layers of the rarified publishing world to reveal its—and his—romantic heart."

authors Floats the Dark Shadow Yves Fey

"Romance, roadkill, and wicked wit—"

null Deborah Bishop

"This mash-up of literary whodunit, romance, and fish-out-of-water caper defies genres, as Harder whisks us from Manhattan to cowboy country and back again; I’m very happy to have gone along for the ride."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781513264301
Publisher: West Margin Press
Publication date: 09/15/2020
Pages: 246
Sales rank: 785,440
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.70(d)

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Read an Excerpt

She started to pack but realized, quickly, that she really had no idea how she should dress for this odd adventure. The only thing she knew for sure was that she was going West—way West—into sartorial circumstances she was not prepared for. What did one wear in weather potentially ranging from blizzard to heat wave when meeting an aging female romance writer who just happened to be a cattle rancher? This whole crazy escapade was twisting her well out of both her comfort zone and her closet.

As she held up a series of disappointing choices before a mirror in her bedroom, she realized that the challenge was less that she didn’t have anything to fit the occasion but that she didn’t fit the occasion. Catherine was a twenty-eight-year-old woman with long dark hair, large brown eyes, full lips, a pretty face, and a shapely figure, although at that moment of self-conscious cataloging, she wasn’t so sure about any of it: her bones seemed a little too large, her hair seemed a little too wild, her skin seemed a little too pale, her eyes a little too round, her cheeks a little too wide. After confronting these exaggerated defects in the mirror, she moved on to other, more obvious reasons that she was the wrong woman for this job.

For one, she didn’t like romance novels, Western or otherwise, and, with the exception of books by Austen and the Brontë sisters, she never read them. To her, they offered little more than a collection of unrealistic characters pirouetting through unrealistic plots toward unavoidably happy endings. And yet, she was now expected to flatter a writer of this sort of romantic froth and get her to sign a book contract with a publishing company known for its discriminating taste.

And then there was California. The most memorable part of her one and only trip to the Golden State was the sunburn she’d cooked into her skin while sitting at an outside café with fellow book editors—in January. And she wasn’t just going to California; she was expected to find someone somewhere in cowboy country. Had she been a six-year-old boy, this might have been a dream adventure, but Catherine found nothing particularly interesting, attractive, or compelling about either cows or the men and women who pushed them around.

The most annoying thought, however, was that this really wasn’t her job. She wasn’t an acquisitions editor, she was a copy editor who much preferred working with contract-settled manuscripts than searching for that tiny shiny needle in the immense haystack of mediocre prose. In short, had the mission she’d been given not been so vitally important to her job, to the job of her many and much-loved coworkers, and to the very survival of Banter House Books, she wouldn’t have agreed to her boss’s request that she fly out to California and look for a reclusive romance writer in some isolated cow pasture.

But she had said yes, and now she could do nothing but pack a few marginally acceptable pieces of clothing, her toiletries, a small container of Dramamine, two phone chargers (she invariably lost at least one wherever she went), and four books—the biggest and pinkest being a copy of Rancho de Amor. She would do what she told Vito she would do. And anyway, she briefly reflected, whatever it was, it was going to be different, which meant it would push Ralph and her own romantic disappointments out of her mind for a few days. With that thought in mind and her bag ready to grab before the crack of dawn the next morning, she rushed out to join a handful of friends at their monthly book group.

Customer Reviews