Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Real Thing by Tina Ann Forkner - Review


Sometimes you have to don a pair of cowgirl boots...

Manda Marshall is ready to leave heartache behind when she marries Keith Black, a champion saddle bronc cowboy and man of her dreams. But going from the serenity of small town Tennessee to the exhilaration of the rodeo, nothing can prepare her for being a cowboy’s wife. Becoming the new stepmom to Keith’s little boy and teenaged daughter has Manda relying on her deep sense of longing for a family and budding love for her stepchildren to strengthen their bond.

Manda’s desire of being a rodeo cowboy’s wife begins to take second place as she works to reinvent a life for herself and new family, but when mysterious phone calls from Keith’s missing ex-wife dredge up the past, Manda finds her marriage and family in an unusual and heart wrenching dilemma. The life she had worked so hard to build is suddenly redefined and her commitment to her husband and family is tested.

What Manda discovers has the power to heal or break her family in this emotional tale of cowboys, rodeo queens, and what it really means to ride beside a cowboy and his family, no matter the risk.

My Review:

A brilliant tale about the ups and downs of life and finding happiness in a second marriage.

When Manda Marshall married three time world champion rodeo star Keith Black, she knew she had some trials ahead of her.  She would be raising Keith’s children who were slow to warm up to the idea of a new mother.  They would be living in the same house that Keith shared with his ex-wife who no one knew where she was.  It was like she just vanished into thin air.  Would Keith’s ex ever try to come back home or see him again?  And then there are the rodeo queens….. 

Manda and Keith are enjoying life as newlyweds when Keith finds out the truth about his ex-wife Violet.  That is when everything changes.  Violet is in a nursing home with early onset Alzheimer’s.  Manda is forced to live with the knowledge that even though Keith loves her, he also still cares very much about Violet and wants to be there for her. 

As beautiful as life can be, it can also be confusing, heartbreaking and very messy.  Manda struggles with an unplanned pregnancy and worries if she will lose the child like she did in the past.  She juggles working with her sister at the shop they own together, helping Keith’s daughter get ready for her prom, running the household and taking trips with Keith to the rodeo or to visit Violet.  Then a bomb is dropped on her by one of Keith’s oldest friends.  Keith has a secret that he has been keeping from Manda. 

This story is one that is easy to get hooked on.  It is well written and thought out.  You can tell the author did all the research to make it as real as possible.  The characters are flawed and they come with baggage much like people in the real world do.  But it’s how they work through everything that would tear most couples apart and how they never lose their faith in love.   



  1. Sounds like an interesting book. Great review!

  2. Thanks, Janine. What a lovely review. I'm so touched!

  3. Thanks, Janine. What a lovely review. I'm so touched!