THE REAL THING                                TINA ANN FORKNER

The Real Thing by Tina Ann ForknerSometimes you have to don a pair of cowgirl boots…

Manda Marshall is ready to leave heartache behind when she marries Keith Black, a champion saddle bronc cowboy and man of her dreams. But going from the serenity of small town Tennessee to the exhilaration of the rodeo, nothing can prepare her for being a cowboy’s wife. Becoming the new stepmom to Keith’s little boy and teenaged daughter has Manda relying on her deep sense of longing for a family and budding love for her stepchildren to strengthen their bond.

Manda’s desire of being a rodeo cowboy’s wife begins to take second place as she works to reinvent a life for herself and new family, but when mysterious phone calls from Keith’s missing ex-wife dredge up the past, Manda finds her marriage and family in an unusual and heart wrenching dilemma. The life she had worked so hard to build is suddenly redefined and her commitment to her husband and family is tested.

What Manda discovers has the power to heal or break her family in this emotional tale of cowboys, rodeo queens, and what it really means to ride beside a cowboy and his family, no matter the risk.
     When you live your life under a hazy film of loss you see things differently.  That is what seems to be going on with each of these characters.
     They lose a child, a cheating ex-husband, disappearing ex-wife, grief over a lost mother and wife.  All this hurt changes how you view the world not to mention how you react to it.
     Manda Marshall, 31, was married before and had a lying cheating husband.  She is at her lowest finding out she may not be able to have any more children after her last pregnancy in which she had a daughter, Sarah who only took a few breaths before she was gone, all the others never made it to full term.  She finds out that her ex had been cheating on her with a 19 year old that was thinner and can have children.
     Now however she is marrying Keith Black, 37, bronc rider.  A man who is also divorced with two children.  He has custody of the kids because his wife just walked away one day.  At first they thought she was missing.  Until the day he was served with divorce papers.  His boy, Stephen, is 5 years old and his daughter, Peyton, is 14 years old.  She is the one who seems to be have the hardest time adjusting to the whole situation.  Especially, now that her father is getting married to Manda.
     Keith being with the rodeo and a cowboy was given a lot of leeway when it came to not discussing things with his family or wife.  Not to mention all the years he had his parents to care for his children.  A lot of the time Manda was discussing things with her twin sister Marta.  When Manda starts to catch him in some lies she lets him off way too easy but this author sure keeps this issue interesting to the storyline.
     Each piece to the puzzle as to who the mystery woman is that Manda meets at Keith’s event 2 hours from home is like a domino effect.  Once you line up the facts it starts to roll.  This woman Judy becomes someone everyone feels they want to know but no one knows why.
     Manda feels that way too yet there is also a fear she feels too when she looks into her eyes.  She sees the look her mother had often of despair.  You see she had-schizophrenia which ended with her taking her own life.  Not the main bonding moment she wanted with Peyton.  Their mom’s leaving them.
     See if they can find a way to stay close and open up to one another.  See what dirty little secret Keith is keeping from Manda.  I really loved all the stuff going on in this family.  It kept it moving and very interesting and heart moving.  I give this 5 stars.  Provided by  Follow us at:

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