Monday, December 2, 2013

The Ivy Tree - Carolyn Brown (Montlake Romance - Feb 2001)

After his rodeo accident, Truman James was just going home to his grandmother's farmhouse to stay a few weeks while his broken leg healed. He surely didn't expect to be awakened the first morning he was there by a snaggle-toothed kid and his sassy Irish mother, who'd moved right into the house with him. 

Allie McCleary wouldn't have ever consented to move to Dougherty, Oklahoma, if she'd known Truman had the freedom to use the house, too. And she sure didn't expect Truman James to be the magic she'd been searching for since her husband was killed five years before
The rest is what happens when you cross a handsome-beyond-words bull rider with a mostly-Irish lass with a temper to match her rich chestnut brown hair and mossy green eyes. It's the story of an old ivy covered elm tree in the corner of the yard, sitting in dormancy like Allie's heart and rooted deep in the rich ranch soil, like Truman's soul. 

Will they realize that the real fight lies within their hearts? Although they're as mismatched as oil and water, they have fallen in love. Can either of them admit it? 

Sweet story about two people who weren't looking for love but found it in an unexpected way.  Ever since her husband's death five years earlier Allie's emotions have been pretty well frozen over.  The only thing that keeps her going is her seven year old son.  When she's offered the chance to stay at an old farmhouse for a few months as a way to break out of her grief, she takes it.  She doesn't expect to come downstairs one morning to find a cowboy asleep in her living room.  Truman has come to his grandmother's house to recover from the broken leg he got while bull riding.  He's not too happy to find a sassy woman and her son already living there.  Once they get over their initial anger they have to learn to get along and share the house. 

I liked Allie a lot.  She's been emotionally numb for five years, but she has enough to be a great mom to her son Linc.  Being offered the use of the farmhouse has been a great chance to get away from the memories and pressures of home.  The peacefulness enables her to work on the paintings that have been commissioned from her.  That peace is disrupted by Truman's arrival.  Since neither of them will  give way they have to get along.  I loved the sparks that are evident right away.  Truman stirs up emotions that have been buried since her husband's death.  Since Truman is nothing like her late husband or what she envisions in her future she tries to ignore them.  I did think her visions of a man with a briefcase and a three piece suit were a bit on the snobby side, along with her initial attitude toward Truman.  I liked the way that attitude changed the more she got to know him, but she continued to hide from her feelings for a long time.  The scene in the ambulance after the rodeo was very moving and really opened her eyes to her true feelings.

Truman was a pretty laid back guy except when he was around Allie.  There was something about her that riled him up.  I liked the way that he seemed to push her buttons on purpose once in awhile just to see her react.  I loved the way he was so good with Linc.  It was obvious he would be a good father someday.  One of the things that Truman was doing while recovering from his broken leg was thinking about his future.  He realized that he's getting old for bullriding and needs to decide what to do with his future.  He decides he's ready to spend more time on his property and start the ranch that has been his dream.  He pictures a small, quiet country woman living there with him, but it isn't long before that picture starts to change and he realizes he's fallen for her.  He just has to get her to see it.

I loved the way the ivy tree was used to symbolize both Allie and Truman.  Allie saw herself as the tree, lying dormant until Truman wrapped his love around her like the ivy was wrapped around the tree.  Truman saw himself as the tree, with his roots buried deeply in the soil of the farm and Allie has the ivy with roots not as deep but wrapping him in love.

I thought Linc was an adorable character with the way he chattered along, barely taking a breath.  He was an important part of showing Allie what a good man Truman was.

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