Title: In Care of Sam Beaudry
Author: Kathleen Eagle
Genre: Contemporary Western Romance
My rating (10 max) : 7.0
In Care of Sam Beaudry is the first book in a series of two about the Beaudry clan. Though each book is a stand-alone, this book lays down lots of background information which helps the reader understand some of the more obscure details about Zach Beaudry in One Cowboy, One Christmas.
As this book begins, life in Bear Root is going on as usual: quiet. It is a small Montana town of just over one thousand people with a general store owned by Hilda Beaudry, a medical clinic where a relative newcomer, Maggie Whiteside, works as a nurse, a sheriff's office where Sam Beaudry works, a school, a courthouse, and a few more assorted buildings.
Early in the story, a seven-and-one-half year old girl, Star Brown, walks into Hilda Beaudry's store and announces herself as Hilda's granddaughter. Hilda was quite surprised by this pronouncement because, as far as she knew, she had two single, childless sons and no grandchildren. Hilda and Star bond almost immediately. They become almost inseparable throughout the story.
Star Brown came into Bear Root with her critically I'll mother, Merrilee. Sam learns the identity of Star's mother and realizes that she was his love when he was in his early twenties. They had broken up because Sam loved Merrilee, but she loved his friend Vic Randone, and both Merrilee and Vic loved drugs. Sam thought it much more probable that Star was Vic's daughter, but can't deny the resemblance, no matter how slight, between the little girl and himself, while there is none between Star and Vic.
Sam cannot understand why Merrilee had not contacted him years earlier, but she died leaving Star and a lot of unanswered questions behind. Sam suggests that he try to locate Vic, but the child is terrified of that man and negates that proposal.
Sam, Maggie, her son Jimmy, and Hilda unofficially adopt Star, integrating her into life in town. All is going well. Sam's and Maggie's romance is developing nicely. Star has adjusted well. Then Vic drifts into town looking for Merrilee and demanding that he be given custody of Star because she's his daughter.
It turns out Star has something Vic desperately wants. The end of the book is the unravelling of the mystery of what he wants and how he goes about getting it.
I enjoyed this book, but not as much as Zach's. There were too many pat answers, and it was too predictable. I liked the main characters, disliked Vic, and rooted for the success of the relationships between Sam and Maggie, Sam and Star, and Star and Hilda.
I recommend this book. It is a quick read and a feel-good story. It's not the kind of book you remember for a long time, but it is the kind of book that allows escape to a quieter, more peaceful, and less complicated life, at least for the duration of the read.