REVIEW: A Lawman's Christmas by Linda Lael Miller


The sudden death of the town marshal leaves Blue River, Texas, without a lawman…and twenty-five-year-old Dara Rose Nolan without a husband. As winter approaches and her meager seamstress income dwindles, she has three options. Yet she won't give up her two young daughters, refuses to join the fallen women of the Bitter Gulch Saloon and can't fathom condemning herself to another loveless marriage. Unfortunately she must decide—soon—because there's a new marshal in town, and she's living under his roof.With the heart of a cowboy, Clay McKettrick plans to start a ranch and finally settle down. He isn't interested in uprooting Dara Rose and her children, but he is interested in giving her protection, friendship—and passion. And when they say "I do" to a marriage of convenience, the temporary lawman's Christmas wish is to make Dara Rose his permanent wife….

About the Author

In January of 2006, NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Linda Lael Miller left the Arizona horse property she's called home for the past five years and listened to the call of her heart. Packing up her work-in-progress for HQN Books; her dogs, Sadie and Bernice, and her four horses, the author of more than 70 novels bid farewell to her home in the desert and returned to the place of her birth, Spokane, Washington.
The daughter of a town marshal, Linda grew up in Northport, WA, a community of 500 on the Columbia River, 120 miles north of Spokane. Her childhood remembrances include riding horses and playing cowgirl on her grandparents' nearby farm. Her grandparents' spread was so rustic that in the early days it lacked electricity and running water.
As delightful as this childhood was, Linda longed to see the world. After graduating as valedictorian of her high school class, she left to pursue her dream. Because of the success of her author career, Linda was able to live part-time in London for several years, spend time in Italy and travel to such far-off destinations as Russia, Hong Kong and Israel. Now, Linda says, the wanderlust is (mostly) out of her blood, and she's come full circle, back to the people and the places she knows and loves.
Before Linda begins her writing day, she takes her first cup of coffee while enjoying the scenic view of the wooded draw behind her new home. The first morning there, a snowfall blanketed the pine trees, something she had missed in the desert outside Scottsdale. Still enamored with the people she came to love in Arizona, she says she will still set books in that starkly beautiful area, and, of course, in other stories the action will take place in Washington.
Devoted to helping others pursue their dreams, the author will launch her sixth round of Linda Lael Miller Scholarships for Women in May of this year. A talented speaker, she donates all her speaking honoraria to her scholarship fund. The stipends are awarded to women who seek to better their lot in life through education.
It's no wonder the protagonists in Miller's novels are women her readers admire for their honor, courage, trustworthiness, valor and determination to succeed, despite overwhelming odds. 'These qualities make them excellent role models for young women,' Miller explains. 'The male leads possess equally noble traits that today's woman would be delighted to find in her life's mate.'
The author traces the birth of her writing career to the day when a Northport teacher told her that the stories she was writing were good, that she just might have a future in writing. Later, when she decided to write novels, she endured her share of rejection before she made her first sale.
Although Linda has written successfully in other genres, she is best known for stories set in the West'stories like McKETTRICK'S CHOICE (HQN Books March 2006 paperback); THE MAN FROM STONE CREEK (HQN, June 2006 hardcover) and that very first novel, FLETCHER'S WOMAN, which is being reissued in 2006. Her stories, set in yesterday's world, and today's, are historical romances, romantic thrillers, and other contemporary tales. They consistently score on prestigious national bestseller lists.
Linda has come a long way since leaving her sheltered life in Northport at age 18 to experience the world. 'Growing up in that time and place, in a family grounded in Western values, served me well,' she allows. 'And I'm happy to be back home.'


  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: HQN Books (September 27, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0373776144
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373776146


 Clay McKettrick takes a job as the new of Blue River, Texas, a town fallen on hard times.  He meets the deceased Marshall's wife, Dara Rose (love that name!) and her two young daughters.  Dara is trying to decide how she can survive and not give up her daughters.  The story takes place in the early 1910's, so given the date, what happens next is extremely feasible.  She marries the new Marshall out of convenience which is actually to both their advantage since Clay needs someone to keep his home.  It is the children who steal this book though.  Edrina is a hoot when she tells Clay exactly how her father died...in the arms of another woman in an upstairs room at the local saloon.  There are more great one liners from her and her sister Harriet.  

So the story is an age old tale, especially in historical fiction, but as always, it is the author who can put a twist on it and make it fresh.  The children really sparked me in this one.  Clay is a decent guy and pretty enlighten for this time period.  Dara is more than his match and it is just wonderful to watch them grow together.  This is a nice addition to her Western stories and the perfect tie in for the holidays! 


  1. I always enjoy her books..they leave you feeling good. thanks for sharing :)

  2. :) I love this time of year, always need a couple good Christmas stories to read going in to the holidays!

  3. I must read this one. I love these type of books. Christmas books are the best.

  4. This is one of my favorite authors from years back, have not read Linda Lael Miller in years but still enjoy hearing about what she has out there. Maybe someday will get a set of her western romances, especially the holiday editions like this one. Thanks for the review Mary, it sparked memories of just how wonderful the magic is that this lady shares with her readers in her work!

  5. Nice write up...Sounds like an interesting read!

    Trev @ trevsliteraryreview.blogspot.com


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