Zebra, Oct 2002, 6.99, 352 pp.
Banker Billy Joe Wilder uses a stipulation in the loan agreement with Eben MacCallister that forces the rancher to furbish a quarter of a million dollar payment within sixty days or lose the Star Ranch which has been in his family for over a century. Not long afterward, Maddie Williams visits Eben. Maddie, a wealthy widow and owner of a dude ranch, loved Eben. Two decades ago she thought she would be his wife, but he cherished his ranch more than he did her.
Attorney Spencer Davenport arrives with four young children including an infant. The four-year-old twin girls announce that both of their parents are in heaven. Eben's estranged sister named their uncle as their guardian. Seven-year-old Dillon realizes that Eben does not want them even if they share blood. Maddie and the four youngsters begin teaching their Uncle Scrooge how to open his heart to love.
SCROOGE WORE SPURS is an engaging modern day ranch twist to the classic Dickens tale with the children serving as surrogates ghosts. The story line will warm cold hearts as Eben learns to laugh and love. However, the theme of the tale leans more towards a second chance at love rather then the single icy cold cowboy learning to love while struggling with nurturing and caring for four youngsters. Though it seems as if Janet Dailey never fully decided which way to take the plot, fans of contemporary ranch romance will appreciate this version of A Christmas Carol.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner