Any aspiring author should read quality literature to learn the right ways to put a novel together. Not everyone who sets out to write a book can put together the right pacing the right amount of tension, and the right dialog to make a book work. ‘The Rancher’s Reunion’ is an example of the perfect way to put together a book that completely lacks all of those things.
Annie has just returned from a mission trip to Kenya. While serving there as a nurse, her unit is attacked. She sees people die while trying to save their children and suffers a bullet wound in her leg. Normally, this would lead to post-traumatic syndrome, but Annie returns home from her nightmare with a sunny disposition, ready to take on the next mission trip as soon as her leg heals. The symptoms of her ordeal only rear their head for a few pages in the middle of the book, at a convenient moment when a hug is in order. After making two or three vague statements, she puts her sunny disposition back to work.
Annie’s character development leads to a mental image of a bi-polar woman-child. She switches from weak to strong, sunny to sad, at the drop of a cowboy’s hat. On one page she is described as heroic, and then in the next chapter she’s weeping tears because her coffee is too hot.
The love of her life is her older foster brother, Will. He is perfect in every way, but refuses to fall in love because his father died from Huntington’s disease. The author does not describe the disease, what it is like, or any details about its progression. The mental anguish Will is in is only mentioned in passing. There’s no believable reason why he doesn’t just get tested for the genetic disorder and get an answer to his fear. He’s supposed to be strong enough to handle a bucking bull, but he can’t handle the bull between his ears.
Most of the chapters are filled with idle chit chat that doesn’t move the plot forward and could easily be deleted without harming the story. Then, at the end of the conversation, they will casually mention a plot element that could have been used to develop tension and keep the pace of the story lively. There is a problem with deliveries because the driveway is made of gravel. The answer to the complaint is that they shouldn’t worry because Annie came up with another brilliant solution, and a new drive will be poured tomorrow. This plot development was completely ignored and not foreshadowed in any way. In another conversation, Annie casually mentions that one of the youth groups camping on the ranch lost a camper, and another camper was thrown from a horse. Those two scenes are missing from the plot as well.
Why those two events weren’t used in the plot is the real mystery in this book. The other mystery is why this book made it to press in the first place.