What Jo Harding loves most about the summer is being able to retreat from annoying humans. Though her friends say she’d be happier with someone sleeping by her side, she insists that all she needs to be happy are her mules, her dog, and a trail into the backcountry. She has absolutely no time to teach the incompetent, if attractive, newcomer.
Daisy Lucero is an eager student from the start. Hired for work in the café, her real dream is to explore the High Sierra wilderness on horseback. While she would love to earn the respect of the handsome woman who inspired her adventure, she may have to settle for pestering her with songs and questions.
In the vast classroom of the California wilderness, each woman finds herself tested. Tests of perseverance for Daisy as she learns to ride, and tests of patience as Jo considers whether life is about more than riding alone.
It doesn’t take either of them long, however, to realize that neither one of them needs a lesson in chemistry.
FROM THE AUTHOR
"My family are not horseback riders. I don’t think either my mom or dad has ever been on a horse, so to have a daughter whose love of horses went beyond the stories and models to play with to actual lessons was, I know, a completely foreign world to them. I remember how terrified I was during those first lessons when there was so much to learn.
The barn became my community. I didn’t fit in at school, but I had my barn friends, and we ran like a wild herd of ponies on weekends and during the long summer days when one of my parents would drop me off at the barn in the morning and pick me up in the afternoon. Once I was part of the herd, I watched newcomers to the barn with interest. I remember one woman who told me that she had ridden a lot as a young girl and then had stopped. She was returning to it as an adult. I swore then that I would always have a horse to ride.
I sold my horse when I went to college, and during school, the only time I rode was summers when I went off to the High Sierras to lead trail rides and work pack trips. Once I got my degree, I got a job teaching English. I got married. I had kids. I understood how that woman drifted away from her time in the saddle. Writing has brought me back to the saddle in a different way. Daisy’s character gave me the opportunity to share that backcountry world through the eyes of a newcomer. Jo gave me a chance to share some of the wisdom I learned from the staff who had much more experience than I did.
Every year, my kids and I watch the Rose Parade. They know I love the horses best and always watch to see if any pack mules are making their way down Colorado Boulevard as they did many years ago. Telling my kids stories about those days in the backcountry made them want to join me on the trail, and planted the seed for this story. I hope you’ll saddle up and see where the story took me. It was such a wonderful trip!"
Pin's Reviews - Cowgirl 101 is a slow-burn romance between two very different personalities set in the beautiful High Sierras of California in summer. The story is well rounded with good conflict, and a lot of interesting information about guided mule trips in the wilderness of High Sierras trails. I was very happy with this book and could easily recommend it.
Betty H. - I really enjoyed Cowgirl 101 by Laina Villeneuve. This book has all the elements of an exceptional modern Western romance with two unique and individual main characters. The setting, of course, is gorgeous. The romance is kind of an enemies-to-lovers tale and definitely a slow-burn romance, but sweet and satisfying. This is the first novel I’ve read by this author, and I’m definitely going to be looking for more of her work. If you love modern-day Western romance with distinctive and engaging characters set in a stunningly beautiful land, then I can recommend this novel for you.
Karen R. - This is a gorgeous book. Everything about it is gorgeous, from the setting to the writing style. Her writing is so readable, so beautiful and lyrical, that it makes the story flow even better. The first half was very slow for me, but I knew that this was a deliberate choice. We needed all that background, all that time to pass, to understand how Daisy and Jo would fit together.