Publisher synopsis: Fresh out of a Pennsylvania penitentiary armed with a marketing degree, Kate Neilson heads to Wyoming anticipating an anonymous new beginning as a guest-ranch employee. A typical 25-year-old woman might be looking to lasso a cowboy, but her only desire is to get on with life on the outside - despite her growing interest in the ranch owner. When she discovers a violent ex-lover followed her West, she fears the past she hoped to hide will imprison her once again.
My take: This book began on a rush - ex-con trying to steal from a church - and didn't slow down until the end. What I thought was another nice romance jolted me with yet another unexpected twist time and again. The recurring theme is forgiveness, and as a new Christian, Kate struggles with forgiving herself and believing she is worthy of a new life. When she meets Mike Duncan, a life-long Christian, she is surprised to discover that he also struggles with forgiving himself for being (he thinks) the cause of his older brother's death almost two decades before. Both Mike and Kate learn a lot about God's grace and facing their fears while God weaves their futures together.
If one of your complaints about inspirational romances is that they are too dull, you no longer have that to fall back on. Rebecca Lyles has taken Christian romance to a new level. She creates believable people who have messed up their lives and find their walk with God a struggle in faith but continue on, discovering that God is faithful just as they had been promised.
"Winds of Wyoming" is an authentic representation of following Christ - accepting grace, failing, repenting and accepting grace again. Lyle's depiction of real people with real flaws discovering God's grace, not once, but each time they failed, drew me in more than any other aspect of her story.
My rating: A great book. It's a 5.