Review: SPECIAL DELIVERY BABY by Sherri Shackelford

Will Canfield is a founding father of Cowboy Creek.  He’s got no time to be a father to a foundling too.48a125_4d931f1e59414f7894eae6540be3cd7a

The Civil War is over, but it’s left a mark on him.  A bad leg and a cane are the outward signs.  He’s also Mr. Uptight Grumpypants.  Sure, he wants to settle down to peacetime bliss, but with a sweet, dulcet bride with good manners.  Not a rowdy redhead with the crazy idea of rodeo show.  Texas Tom turns out to be a girl, Thomisina, but no one knows where the baby came from.

Thomasina averted a disaster of cattle storming down main street and then she had the nerve to insist she had every right to hold her show in Cowboy Creek.

The baby was well-fed and came with carefully folded, hand-sewn clothing and every indication she was loved.

Will can’t get his female friend to help with the baby, since she and her husband have one of their own on the way.  And he can’t get Texas Thomasine out of his town or off his mind.

Dude, it’s time to loosen up.

But, Will and Thomasina hardly have time to court, even if they could.

A gang’s in town stirring up trouble, like spearing a bull just before Tom’s show.  It goes crazy, people get and almost get hurt.  Someone gets dumped, badly injured, during the ruckus.  Tom almost gets kidnapped.  Now her pa is dead, she’s free game to cowboys who don’t like to take orders from a female.  Even her buddy from the old droving days seems to turn on her.  Meanwhile, the baby still doesn’t have her mama.

Thomasina decides it’s high time she got into a new line of work.  She enlists help to learn how to dress like a girl and finds out she and her pa actually socked away a tidy sum of money.  Still, she feels she needs to work or she’ll go crazy.

And Will is almost finished building a big house, but his last bride-to-be is long gone.

Thomasina turns Will’s shirts pink trying to work at the laundry.  She tries working in the café dining room and just about boxes the ears of the unruly offspring of guests.

Seems like they both always turn up when there’s trouble.  And then there’s the preacher’s daughter who looks after the baby and seems to be getting too attached to it.

The characters in this story are well-rounded.  Thomasina grows and adapts in a believable way, but holds on to her feisty personality.  Will can’t shake his attachment to her, despite the fact that she doesn’t fit his idea of good wife material.

The baby and her care were believably portrayed, but I would have liked to see her more involved in story and encountered her on more pages.  I don’t fault the author for that, because she obviously knew what she was doing.  I suspect the publisher doubts readers want babies more involved.  Maybe that’s true for other readers, but not me.  What’s so scary about babies?  Big, bad babies, seriously?  If you’re going to have a baby in a story, then really have her in the story, I say.  Let the poo fly where it may.  Builds character.

Ms. Shackleford has a wonderful, growing book list.  Check her out.