When eight-year old Alex was wrenched from her life on the Double F ranch and shipped back to England, it broke the hearts of the ranch hands, especially the friendly but hotheaded Jesse Makepeace, to not be able to help Lady Alex. Ten years later Lady Alexandra Calthorpe has returned to the ranch in Colorado, after the annulment of the disastrous marriage her father arranged for her. Alex, who is as strongwilled as ever, now hopes that she can gain her independence by selling her artwork, and thereby be free from all controlling men, including her father. At the ranch she quickly re-establishes the relationships from her childhood. An emotional bond grows between Alex and Jesse, but can Lady Alex admit that she loves him. Will Lady Alex's father interfere in her choices? Can Lady Alex love a man and still be independent?
Andrea Downing does a very good job of depicting the hard life on a ranch in the late 1800´s as well as the struggles of a high-society woman to gain independence. I like the authors descriptive style and the pace throughout the book is very high, with one dramatic event after the other unfolding. Unfortunately, I had a problem with the two main characters Alex and Jesse, who I think behave like moody children throughout the book, especially in their relationship towards each other. Jesse is quite a flat character, while Alex goes up and down like a roller coaster. She goes very quickly from happy and excited to deep depressions and back. While I love to read about strong and willfull heroines, Alex comes across as mostly rude and volatile. This being said, she is always there for the people she loves, being prepared to sacrifice her own happiness to help her friends.
The author does a good job in adding a lot of interesting historical detail and a fun group of supporting characters to give this classic romantic story more depth. I would recommend Loveland for lovers of romance and historical fiction enthusiasts.