Monday, February 27, 2012

The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels — a Love Story by Ree Drummond — 352 pgs

Ree is your quintessential city girl who loves sushi, shoes and designer jeans. When she breaks up with her longtime boyfriend J after spending years just getting by on the fumes of romance, she heads back to her parents’ home in rural Oklahoma, where she’s planning to get her act together before moving to Chicago for the next great adventure in her life. But all that changes the night she goes out for a glass of wine with a group of friends and is caught up in the mystique of a mysterious cowboy whom she can’t seem to stop thinking about. As Ree prepares for her move to Chicago and tries to shake off J’s unwanted intrusion into her future, the unexpected happens: the cowboy reappears and sweeps Ree off her feet. In a whirlwind romantic courtship, Ree begins to learn about the realities of love and comes to crave the nearness and perfection of the cowboy she calls “The Marlboro Man.” As Ree adjusts to the change from city socialite to a woman who relishes the quiet and outdoorsy way of life, she begins to discover that the Marlboro Man is more than just a fling: He’s the real thing. But Ree’s life is far from calm, and when severe relationship problems begin to crop up for her parents, Ree becomes scared of the life she is embarking upon. But Marlboro Man won’t let that stop him because Ree is the woman he wants to spend the rest of his life with. In this memoir from award winning blogger and Food Network star Ree Drummond, readers get to hitch a ride on a star as they traverse the course of the early days of the relationship between Ree and her cowboy, the irrepressible and quietly solid Marlboro Man.

Though I’m not very familiar with Ree Drummond’s blog or television show, I have heard her name bandied about enough to have been curious about her memoir. Despite not being much of a romance reader, the fact that this story is written as a memoir really enticed me, and at a time when I’m rather busy and harried in my real life, I thought it would be a perfect escape to read about the journey into love that Ree never saw coming. For the most part, this book was enticingly romantic, but there were also deft bits of humor surrounding the story of Ree and Marlboro Man that I couldn’t help giggling over. This was a book to be savored and remembered, if only to prove that real romance does indeed exist and is found in the most unlikely spots.

I would have to classify Ree as something of a princess when the book starts, and I admit that I didn’t really feel a closeness to her. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I can’t really relate to a woman who’s main focus is clothes, shoes and hair. I initially thought Ree’s treatment of her longtime boyfriend, J, was a little cruel, given the fact that she had lived with him for so long, and I wondered what I got myself into with this book. It wasn’t until I began to see the little insecurities hiding behind Ree’s fancy facade that I began to take her a little more seriously and grew to like her. When Ree decides to introduce herself to the handsome cowboy at the bar, I knew the story was just taking off, and it was with a mixture of trepidation and curiosity that I watched this woman transform from a cynical fashionista into a love struck woman who became completely transparent and utterly likable.

Ree’s romance with Marlboro Man was recounted from its first precarious steps to its satisfying conclusion with lot of heat in between. I grew to see Marlboro Man from her perspective: a kind and romantic man with no time for games or foolishness. He takes his relationship with Ree very seriously but isn’t afraid to poke fun at her when he gets the chance, and the chemistry and heat between these two seems to gush off the page. All this is not to say that there weren’t problems along the way, for there were some issues between the two lovers that seemed insurmountable. Gently and with great care, these two moved together seamlessly to overcome the difficulties that plagued them while learning to lean on each other for support and strength that no one else could give. I was touched by the concern and compassion they showed for each other, and have to admit that I swooned a time or two over the Marlboro Man.

As Ree and her man become more and more enmeshed, questions of permanency and marriage begin to crop up, and unexpectedly, the situation is upon her. In the last section of the book, Ree decides to leave her old life behind and bend her existence to the love of her life, whom she seems to have discovered by fate and chance. This was my favorite section of the book because I remember asking myself many of the same questions as I took the plunge into married life that Ree struggles with as well. But through all the ups and downs, (and there are plenty) the loving and attentive man by her side never gives her reason to doubt, and with all her soul, Ree longs to become one with him. I was surprised at how this section turned out, because while the two had an almost perfect love, the situations surrounding them were far from perfect. When it weighed the most heavily on them, the two found strength in each other.

This was a very sweet romantic memoir to fill my February with, and I was glad that I had the opportunity to read it. Though it’s not my genre or subject choice very often, sometimes a girl just needs to escape into a blissful and extravagant tale of love and passion. If you’re looking for a book  to warm your heart and make you feel a rush of tenderness in your soul, this is the book for you. A really endearing read.


Author Photo About the Author

Ree Drummond, an award-winning blogger since 2006, is the star of the hit Food Network show The Pioneer Woman. In addition to her #1 New York Times bestselling cookbook, The Pioneer Woman Cooks, Ree is the author of Charlie the Ranch Dog and The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier. She lives on a working cattle ranch near Pawhuska, Oklahoma, with her husband and their four children.

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TLC Book Tours A warm thanks to TLC Book Tours for providing this book for me to read and review. Please continue to follow the tour by visiting these other blogs:

Friday, February 17th:Chick Lit Reviews and News
Monday, February 20th:Hospitable Pursuits
Tuesday, February 21st:Book Club Classics!
Thursday, February 23rd:Joyfully Retired
Monday, February 27th:Laura's Reviews
Tuesday, February 28th:Raging Bibliomania
Wednesday, February 29th:Jenn's Bookshelves
Thursday, March 1st:Books Like Breathing
Tuesday, March 6th:BookNAround
Wednesday, March 7th:Amusing Reviews
Thursday, March 8th:girlichef
Monday, March 12th:Tina's Book Reviews


This book was provided as a complimentary review copy.

22 comments:

Anita said...

I am not really familiar with her blog or the TV show either(who knew). But I do find this interesting, I didn't really know much about her.
Great review Heather!!

Ellen said...

Great review! I read The Pioneer Woman blog occasionally when I was in college (she posted parts of this story up there, along with her recipes - I think it was before she split the site up into separate blogs). I'd forgotten about how until I was home for the holidays, looking at the Food Network listings, and saw her name on there. I shouldn't be surprised to see how far she's come in just a few years, but still, it was startling!

I've been on a chick lit kick lately, which is pretty unusual for me, and haven't known what to read now that I've exhausted Emily Giffin's novels. Definitely going to check this memoir out - it sounds like a perfect, light read for this time of year.

Mary (Bookfan) said...

I'm a fan. I've followed her blog for a long time and I dvr her show. There's so much on the blog about how she and Marlboro Man met, married, had kids, etc that I wondered if I should read the book. Now I see there are things she didn't include on her blog so I'll add this to my TBR list. Great review!

Jenny said...

Sounds like a romantic comedy (Sweet Home Alabama with Reese Witherspoon comes to mind). I hadn't heard of this author either, but sounds like a sweet, romantic read!

nomadreader said...

I've heard of the Pioneer Woman, but I haven't read her blog or watched her show. Her story sounds quite interesting though. I'm fascinated by the unexpected paths life gives you, and this memoir sounds like it has a big one. Great review!

Mrs Q Book Addict said...

This book and author is new to me. I don't read many memoirs but this one does sound interesting.

bermudaonion said...

I love memoirs but didn't realize this one is so romantic. I still want to read it!

Jenners said...

I always hear about her but haven't read anything she's done. Still, true love and having to make a life change with lots of obstacles sounds enticing.

The only thing stopping me is my intense jealousy at all successful bloggers. : )

TheBookGirl said...

I have heard of her, seen the promos for her show on the food channel, but till yesterday, hadn't looked at her blog.

Glad you enjoyed this one -- good choice for the month containing Valentine's Day!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I have to say that books that use initials or otherwise don't use names annoy the heck out of me. Just a personal idiosyncracy!

Brooke said...

I feel like I've been living under a rock since I've never heard of the author, her blog, her tv show, or this memoir! Great review!

Anonymous said...

I used to be a huge Pioneer Woman fan. But as I watched her current plagiarism scandal unfold on Valentine's day and her subsequent efforts to cover it up, it has given me serious pause. For years, the internet has been buzzing about how Ree's recipes are lifted from church and community cookbooks without her crediting them. Plus there are at least 2 blogs raising these concerns about PW as well, The Marlboro Woman and Pie Near Woman. Bottom line, I won't be buying anymore of her cookbooks or her novels.

Bookfool said...

I liked this book but it made me so freaking homesick that I couldn't finish it! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I just read the above comment -- hadn't heard a thing about a scandal. Interesting. I know someone who was falsely accused of plagiarism, so I will not be quick to judge.

Suko said...

Perfect sounding book to read during the month of February! I am not familiar with her blog, but you've made me quite interested in it. Wonderful, in-depth review, as usual.

Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

I've been reading such wonderful reviews about this one so I had to download it on my Kindle - can't wait to dive into the story!

Thanks for being on the tour. I'm featuring your review on TLC's Facebook page today.

Lisa said...

I think I'm the only person in the blogging community that hasn't jumped on Ree's bandwagon yet. Think I may start with the cookbook first then see how I feel about the romance!

Amy said...

I couldn't decide whether I wanted to review this book or not. Like you, I am not familiar with Ree Drummond's show or blog. I thought I'd read some great reviews and based on how much you enjoyed this book I guess I did and should have said yes to reading this! I'm happy to know Ree changed from the woman obsessed with her clothes and hair and chose life with The Marlboro Man.

I like that this couple found strength in each other when there were downs and difficulties in their relationship and then, ultimately committed to each other. Given the problems and situations in the world today, the positive and romantic message in this book is refreshing.

I will be listing this on my tbr but am going to wait to read it when I need a book like this and am in the mood for it!

Cath said...

I was a fan of Ree's when she was less famous, but I think popularity has changed her a lot! Things don't feel as carefully put together as they once were. But since this story chronicles her start, I think I might read it for old times' sake.

Great review, as usual.

Nana Fredua-Agyeman said...

When it started I was like 'another romance book'. But then I hadn't read any hardcore romance on this blog so I was quite shocked. Then you mentioned the memoir and I was like so these things are real? Thanks for this review. At least utopia in love is a possibility.

Beth F said...

I check into her blog a few times a year and I certainly know who TPW is, but I wouldn't call myself a huge fan. (Not that I have anything against her at all -- lots to admire). Anyway, I wasn't interested in this memoir at all, but you've made me rethink, and perhaps I'll get to it one of these days.

Stacy at A Novel Source said...

I'm clueless - about who she is, the woman, the blog, the show...I guess I DO live under a rock. Excellent review no matter - and how do I get one of those Marlboro Men?

Amy said...

This sounds like a surprisingly good book. I mean, I shouldn't be but you know, food network, romance, country living, I was a bit put off by all of that ;)

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