The small ranching town of Springwater, Mont., familiar as ground central in Miller's romantic frontier series (Springwater Christmas, etc.), is the setting of her newest contemporary tale featuring old high school sweethearts Maggie McCaffrey and J.T. Wainwright, descendants of the town's original settlers. After nearly a decade of high-rise living, Maggie has returned to Springwater to recover from her failed marriage and to transform the historic stagecoach station into a bed-and-breakfast. To her chagrin, hot-headed J.T. is in town as well, rebuilding his family ranch and struggling to cope with the horrors he witnessed as a child and as a NYC cop. Once again sparks fly between the two, and although Maggie tries to distance herself from J.T. for fear of being hurt, they are inevitably drawn together. A subplot involving an internet romance between the town marshal and a librarian is a pleasing touch, but another involving rustlers who poison cows, burn barns and commit murder adds little to the tale. Miller's strength is her portrayal of the history and traditions that distinguish Springwater and its residents. Although she pours on the country charm quite liberally at times, this straightforward yet sugary narrative will appeal to fans of the series as well as those who appreciate the works of Debbie Macomber and Jayne Ann Krentz. (Apr. 3)
Forecast:This is Miller's first hardcover in four years, and as such, it should capture her fans' attention; the contemporary Springwater setting is a novel attraction too.