Circle C Milestones series / by Susan K. Marlow. 8.4.2017

The Last Ride / by Susan K. Marlow. (Circle C Milestones, 3)

Kregel Publications ISBN 9780825443695

Courageous Love / by Susan K. Marlow. (Circle C Milestones, 4)

Kregel Publications ISBN 9780825443701

YA Rating: 4

Andrea “Andi” Carter is growing up. Now a young lady, she must trade in her overalls for skirts and a side saddle. Thrilled that she is almost done with school for good, she is hopeful that her brother, Chad, will ignore the fact that she’s a girl and increase her responsibilities on the ranch.

In The Last Ride, Andi is paired with her cousin Daniel to teach him how things work on the Circle C. Sounds easy enough, but Daniel is a city-slicker who’d rather gamble and play pranks than work on a ranch or listen to a girl. Alternately rude and charming, he creates one dangerous situation after another. When his antics bring personal heartbreak to Andi, she closes herself off from her family and friends.

In Courageous Love, Andi has settled in to her ranch duties and racing her horse, Shasta. Convinced she is the only one who can work with Shasta, she is not happy when Chad puts wrangler Riley Prescott in charge of training all the horses, including Shasta. When some of her brother’s prize calves die, and the barn catches fire, Andi and Riley must put aside their differences for the sake of the Circle C.

As with books 1 and 2 in the Circle C Milestones series, each story is written in the third person and includes snippets from Andi’s diary, allowing the reader to experience her thoughts and emotions firsthand. Author Susan K. Marlow effectively captures the feelings of a teenage girl who struggles with growing up during a time when women’s options were limited. The series’ characters are further developed in these two sequels, and information about raising cattle and horses in the 1880s is provided through dialogue and description. Messages of faith, forgiveness, and God’s provision are presented in a natural way through characters’ conversations and prayers.

The Last Ride and Courageous Love are well-researched, highly readable fictionalized accounts of the life of a teenager in the Old West. Adults may also enjoy the Circle C Milestones series.

Linda Matchett, CLJ

Earlier Series Titles Reviewed by CLJ: Thick as Thieves and Heartbreak Trail (Jan/Feb/Mar 2017).