Montana Creeds: Logan

Logan - Linda Lael Miller I wavered between three and four stars for this book.On the one hand, Miller has written a wonderful book of fully fleshed out characters. The children are neither too wise nor too cute. Alec, 8 and Josh, 10 are as exasperating and wonderful as boys that age are in real life. Their mother Briana is holding it together as a single mom after getting dumped at Wal-Mart by her husband. She's not played out as a heroic WonderMom, but as your average woman doing what she must, occasionally doing things wrong, to keep on trucking. She felt real to me, reminding me of my own mom in many ways.Their neighbor Logan Creed has come back to his family's Montana ranch after two failed marriages, a stint in Iraq in the Army and a law career that netted him 30 million dollars. Somehow, he's still in his early to mid-thirties. The math doesn't work for me, but whatever. God forbid we have working-class heroes. He's estranged from his brothers, Dylan and Tyler, after a drunken brawl the day their boozebag father died twelve years ago. (In another bout of fuzzy math, she says the father died when Logan was a college junior, so age 20-21, right? Now if Tyler is 8 years younger than Logan, as she describes, what were they doing drinking whiskey and brawling with a 12-13 year old boy in a bar? But I digress.)He's come back to make a fresh start of it, reconcile with his brothers, get married again and have kids. The hero, heroine and the cast of supporting characters felt real to me. I felt Logan's confusion, bitterness, sadness and regret without ever once pitying him. Miller does a great job showing the awkwardness between the brothers when they talk to each other. There's no magical, tear-filled bromantic reconciliation moment. Briana frets about her ex-husband's return and how it will affect the boys. She's wary of Vance, her ex, while willing to work with him for the kids' sakes. Her ex starts the book a self-indulgent boor, and ends it a mere flawed human trying to fix his mistakes. The assorted villains are more pitiable than evil. I could've done without the American Indian grandmother with prophetic dreams, but you can't have it all.The book failed me near the end. A suspense subplot involving Briana's house getting vandalized was both unnecessary and unresolved. The HEA was not only unbelievable but unwanted. Miller has a divorcee with two impressionable boys marry a twice-divorced man after knowing each other less than two weeks. I don't think that's romantic, I think that's reckless, especially because Miller never spent any of Logan's POV time assessing what went wrong in those marriages, who those women were or what sort of man he was then. We're just supposed to believe he's in it for the long haul this time because He's The Hero.Despite these somewhat major flaws, the characters were compelling and Miller's voice was evocative, so I couldn't put the book down. I eventually settled on a four because I am invested enough in the brothers to want to continue the series, and that must count for something.