A Shared Range (Stories from the Range)

A Shared Range - Andrew  Grey 4.5 I like to read Andrew's stories when I feel down and tired of humanity. The warmth, the kindness inherent in his stories always help me back to hopeful again.

A Shared Range, while it may look, on the surface, like another cowboy story, is so much more. We're brought into the gorgeous setting of Wyoming cattle country, nestled amidst the mountains, but we're reminded that this lovely scenery is also Matthew Shepherd country, with the implication that brutality and hate still live here as well. Andrew works in other current issues as well, with the controversy of reintroducing wolves into the National Parks system central to the story. These issues, real and relevant now, lend a depth and breadth to the story that I think Andrew has not shown us in previous tales.

Another of the issues facing our loyal and stoic Dakota hit much closer to home for me. Dakota's Dad has MS. So do I. While Jefferson's disease has progressed much faster than mine (which all has to do with how quickly the first intervention occurs) I still read the scenes with him with a little bit of a lead weight in my stomach. We fear this - all of us with this strange and unpredictable condition, that we will someday become a burden to our families. While it's quite clear that Dakota never, ever thinks of his father as a burden, I know, without being told, that his father sometimes feels differently.

Anyway... so this one felt closer to home and Andrew treats the situation with the compassion and understanding we've come to expect from him. The love story...oh, yes, there is one, did I forget to mention? lol The romance between Dakota and Wally is a lovely one - some readers may think that it happens quickly and easily, but most of their conflicts are external. When you meet your heart's desire, I think most people know. I enjoyed this less traditional handling of a romance and neither Dakota or Wally are hissy, suspicious people - much easier for reasonable, well-balanced people to come together than if there are huge internal issues lurking.

A lovely story, I smiled a lot, and felt better after reading. Thank you, Andrew.