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Montana trilogy off to good start
"Montana Creeds: Logan" Author: Linda Lael Miller Publisher: HQN Books

The past holds the key to future happiness as bestselling novelist Linda Lael Miller turns her focus to modern-day Montana in her new novel, "Montana Creeds: Logan."

The book is the first in a trilogy about three brothers who weathered the jars and injuries of the rodeo circuit but find their lives overshadowed by memories of their tough father.

A battle at their father's funeral has kept the brothers apart for years. They don't even know about the big events in each other's lives, such as the birth of a child or service in war.

As Logan Creed returns to the Montana ranch that is the family legacy, his new life starts quickly as he acquires an abandoned dog and a storm of memories.

Long empty, the home on his portion of the ranch has a sagging porch, squeaking front door and a mass of litter inside - "the ancestral pile," he considers it. But rock fireplace and sturdy floors signal that the home - and his life - have solid foundations on which to rebuild.

When he meets Briana, a divorced woman, and her young sons who are living on another brother's share of the land, Logan begins reflecting on his own childhood and the effects of struggles on youngsters and the adults they become.

Goaded by his grandmother, a wise and rock solid woman of the West, he works to reconnect with his brothers and his past.

The author has written more than 80 contemporary and historical novels, and her skill in the romance genre comes through clearly in this novel.

Her descriptions of people and locations pack in detail. And the reader can easily feel emotions of her characters.

For example, Briana struggles with resentment and concern for her sons as the man who abandoned her and the boys at a discount store plans to return.

The oldest son, Josh, is hurt and angry as the father who abandoned them plans to return for a visit.

"You're divorced from him. I want to be divorced from him, too," Josh insists.

But younger brother Alec desperately hopes for his father's return.

Miller's care in developing the emotions of the youngsters shows her strength in that area, the basis of all romantic novels.

The Montana setting provides colorful characters, and Miller creates a believable, if well-beaten locale.

Fans of romance novels will enjoy her new twist.

Contact Chris Rubich at crubich@billingsgazette.com or 657-1301.

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