Were I still immersed in the “publish or perish” madness of academe, I know just what research program would lead me to fame and fortune. I could confidently answer Freud’s famous question, “What do women want?” and I would owe it all to reading romance novels. Because it is perfectly clear to me that what American women at the end of the 20th century want more than anything else is a man who will love their children. I have come to this conclusion after reading book after book with the same scenario as Sara Orwig’s latest Intimate Moments.
Pregnant Vivian Ashland is on her way from Denver to Houston to start a new life far from her psychologically abusive, control-freak ex-husband. She left the interstate when she realized that she was being followed and is taking a back road through Oklahoma when an unexpected contraction causes her to lose control of her car and run off
Her four-year old daughter, Mary Catherine, goes for help and finds farmer/rancher Matt Whitewolf changing a flat tire on his truck. A sudden rainstorm prevents Matt from taking Vivian to the hospital so he is forced to take her to his home where he delivers Baby Julia. Of course, this creates an intimacy between Vivian and Matt and gives Matt
a connection to the infant he helped bring into the world.
Matt isn’t much into either intimacy or connection. An abusive childhood left him convinced he isn’t cut out for family life. Indeed, a woman has never been in his house until Vivian. Of course, turns out that Matt has a gift for reassuring little girls like Mary Catherine who are afraid of men because of the treatment she received from her own
father. And he really falls for Baby Julia and her mother. He manages to convince Vivian not to rush off to Houston but to stay a while at the ranch.
Vivian discovers how different Matt is from the men she has known in the big city. But he keeps mentioning his aversion to marriage. And there is their very different lifestyles. Matt can’t believe that a successful professional woman like Vivian can possibly find happiness with a struggling rancher.
Galahad in Blue Jeans is a perfectly acceptable category romance. But I have this niggling feeling that I have pretty much reviewed this book before -- several times! This leads me to my profound insight into what American women want at the end of the 20th century. They want, above all else, a man they can count on to love their
children, even when said children are not the man’s own.
Orwig’s take on this tried and true formula does not really have any quality that sets it apart from all those other books. It does have a nice portrayal of small town Oklahoma, a sexy hero, and a bit of conflict when Vivian’s selfish ex-husband appears on the scene. If you are a big fan of the “love me, love my kids” scenario (and there must be huge numbers of such fans given this plot's popularity), then you may well enjoy Galahad in Blue Jeans.