The Rancher (Harlequin Special Edition Series #2227)

The Rancher - Diana Palmer This is the best new Palmer I've read in years, which sadly is saying very little. She changes the formula up a bit here, mainly in that the hero Cort is not decades older than the heroine, and in fact comes off as somewhat callow and immature. And though the "kids today" prissiness is still there, it's toned down some. Other than that, it's the usual "downtrodden young woman has been madly in love forever with mean guy" plot.One problem with the book were lots of logic fails on Maddie's part. She thinks her cattle can't be being harmed by the nasty developer who made threats, because they're so valuble. Um, he has no interest in the value of your cattle since he plans to tear your ranch down anyway! And she doesn't tell her neighbor (a former palmer hero and Cort's father) that she's being threatened, despite the fact that he explicitly told her he would hate to see her ranch developed and would help her.But I think what bugged me most was the insistent recurrence of themes I'm seeing far too often in Palmer: the "good women give up their careers for marriage and babies" theme -- the reformation of the Evil Other Woman includes losing interest in her singing career and starting to ponder babies --and the heroine who hides her valuable talents away and has to be pushed into realizing she can make money from them. Maddie is allowed no agency at all, it has to be forced upon her. These days, a Palmer heroine has to not only be incredibly pure, downtrodden, and wanting nothing more than lots of babies, she also has to strenuously hide her light under a bushel. Still, it was readable and had fun moments. It will probably appeal to longtime Palmer fans because of links to her previous books, [b:Heather's Song|959103|Heather's Song|Diana Palmer||1125054] and [b:To Love and Cherish|959074|To Love and Cherish|Diana Palmer||943984].