Rating: 4 Stars
Length: 448 Pages, 8786 Locations
Formats: Paperback, Kindle
A Classic By Roberts
The death of her father took Willa Mercy by surprise - he hadn't even told her he was sick. Finding out that the cold man who she'd tried her entire life to please had left a will that took away the home she'd grown up in and the ranch she'd worked on for her entire life and split it between herself and two half-sisters she'd never even met, demanding that to get anything, they all had to live together on Mercy ranch for a year, is a betrayal that she can't even process. Then, still reeling from that affront, Willa stumbles across the butchered carcass of one of her cattle. And the only animal who would do something like that...is man. As three strangers struggle with each other and the legacy of the unbending, frigid man who was their father, a psychotic killer stalks Mercy and threatens them all.
It was 1997 when I first read Montana Sky. I'd never read anything quite like it, and it turned me on to the exquisite blend of romance and suspense and mystery that Roberts is so acclaimed at writing. Since then, I've read almost every book Roberts has published, regardless of genre.
Montana Sky is, at its core, a story about the bonds of family - those shared through blood and those born and nurtured through affection, dedication, and love. Three sisters first meet, then spark off each other as they start to know each other, eventually like each other...mostly, then love each other - unquestionably. As those tentative family bonds are laid, so too are the bonds with three impressive men who love them. It's heartwarming and horrifying at turns, and despite its age, has a timelessness that keeps it from feeling dated. It's still one of my favorites of Roberts, despite having a few issues with it as a whole.
It's quite long, first of all, and despite Roberts using that length to develop every aspect of the plot sufficiently, I still felt like there were some parts that could have been trimmed down and streamlined in the plot and in the narrative. A few superfluous scenes bogged down the pacing from time to time. I would have also preferred to have Willa and Ben be the sole romance, as the relationships between Adam and Lily and Tess and Nate were quite clearly not the focus of the story and weren't given enough room to really expand into three dimensions, either. And despite the fact that Willa and Ben's relationship is the backbone of the romantic aspects in the book, the conclusion of that relationship arc felt a little less satisfying than those of Lily and Tess and their loves. That's personal preference and opinion, of course.
Despite those few issues, Montana Sky is a compelling, sweeping saga - still a compelling and sweeping saga, actually, and is rich and decadent with the benefits of Roberts' lyricism of prose and her unparalleled ability to draw a reader into the scenes of the book so completely that you can smell the snow on the mountain peaks after a blizzard and feel the trickle of sweat down your spine when the characters are stringing the fences. I loved revisiting this book after so many years and so many fond Roberts' memories.
A caution to sensitive readers: there are scenes that dip into the deranged psychosis of a killer's mind and detail the savagery of his crimes - not to gruesome levels (though that's subjective), but definitely far more than just glossing over them. This is not simply a contemporary romance and does have brutally dark edges more commonly found in romantic suspense or thrillers. It may be too graphic in some places for some readers.