This time there is an extra bonus for all you devoted Cassie fans out there! Both Tom and Cassie have directly contributed to my review. Many thanks to PK for arranging the interviews!
Title: Cassie Corralled
Author: PK Corey
Publisher: Blushing Books
Number of Pages: 199
Themes: Special Memories, Youthful Spirit, Aging Gracefully, Beware the JabberJanet
- Cassie - the dear and funny woman in this love story. She has been happily married to her husband, Tom, for over 40 years. She met him at a time in her life when she was adrift and self-destructive. "Tom was there to not only hold me...., but to put all the pieces together again so that everything made sense." With Tom as her safety net, Cassie barrels through life with a zest and energy that endears her to everyone. He, however, expects his wife to be a "southern lady" in every sense of the word. That includes staying safe and being obedient to him. However, Cassie seems to land herself in hot water more times than not. This usually comes with the consequence of Tom taking her in hand.
- Tom - is the rock that gives Cassie her stability and unconditional love. "Almost from the first time I saw Cassie, I loved her. She captured my mind, my heart, my very being from the first moment I was aware of her." He is a confident, old-fashioned, and dominant husband who loves to spoil Cassie with lavish gifts and vacations. But Tom is adamant about his role as her protector. Most times when Cassie pushes the envelope with Tom's rules, she ends up over his knee. In this book Cassie thinks he has gone too far with his constant worries about her safety and rebels in a way that frightens her "family" to their core. I have heard other readers say that they find Tom too strict or confining. Not me. I love this character just the way he is.
- Sue and Annie - Cassie's oldest, dearest friends and at opposite ends of the personality spectrum. Sue is a blunt and outspoken woman who often feels Tom is just too bossy. Annie, on the other hand, is a sweet and easy-going friend that often provides both Cassie and Sue with a more level-headed and submissive point of view.
- Ryan and Allie - Ryan is Tom and Cassie's adopted son, and Allie is the "girl next door" he loves. They have become the "family" Cassie always wanted.
- Lily - You will love Lily! If you have ever wished that Cassie had a guardian angel to watch over her, your wish has been granted. Lily is not a timid little spirit floating around and playing a harp, though. She is a no-nonsense, loving woman who takes Cassie under her wing during a very dark time for our heroine. This character soon becomes a valued member of the big family along the river.
- Janet - a friend from Cassie's past who shows up much to Tom's chagrin. While Cassie, Sue, and Annie blithely follow Janet's lead, Tom remains suspicious. Soon Lily is distrustful as well. Beware the tangled web this woman weaves. I wanted to knock her into the middle of next week.
Setting: Tom and Cassie's home by the river.
Cassie Corralled starts with some reminisces from Cassie's past that are new to us. Even Tom doesn't know all of these stories. Straight out of the shoot, she shares my favorite quote of the whole book, "He's wrapped me in a cocoon of love for nearly forty years, despite his old-fashioned ways." I do love it when Cassie talks about Tom this way. There is love in every word. (Insert big sigh)
While Cassie and Tom's adopted son, Ryan, is usually a model of responsibility and a young man with a caring heart, Cassie starts to worry about his strange, pensive mood. Just when she is frantic and fearing the worst, Ryan shows his true blue goodness with a decision that brings his new mom great joy.
Cassie's dear friend, Annie, has a bigger presence in this book. I really came to appreciate the way her calm and careful approach to life was a good counterpoint to Cassie and Sue's lack of common sense in certain situations. She, too, has a happy surprise for Cassie.
We hear much more about Cassie's prowess with guns in this book. Since I like to shoot out at the range with Sam as often as possible, I especially liked this attention to Cassie's skills with a gun. I think she is a much better shot than I am, especially with skeet. Anyway, the story she shares with the girls is a typical Cassie tale - not obeying Tom's directions to the letter and then putting herself and Sue in danger. I will let you enjoy the hilarious details of this adventure on your own. Will just jump to the part where the police become involved. Cassie has the gun in her hand and is hauled off along with the wrong-doers. Suffice to say Tom is not pleased when the police captain calls. When he comes to fetch Cassie, he assures the captain that Cassie will NEVER do this again.
After a silent ride home, Cassie is indignant and swears there will be no spanking. You can practically hear Tom say, "Ha" as he hauls his wife over his shoulder and up to the bedroom. I so loved this part, I had to read it over several times. Tom can be so sexy, and my heart starts to flutter. (Thanks to PK here!) He grabs the
legendary ivory hairbrush and warns her, "Cassie Jane ..... I'm about to wear you out and you don't need to make me any madder." Once Tom begins to apply the brush to Cassie's bare bottom, her tone changes quickly from "accusing sarcasm to pleading." Cassie finishes retelling this story by revealing that it was this incident that resulted in Tom taking her gun(s) away.
I must tell you that even when reading Cassie Corralled for the second time, I could not keep track of how many spankings Cassie
received. Holy hell, Tom was on a roll! There is a serious disciplining that follows Cassie foolishly meeting an Internet friend without anyone knowing about it. As Tom's rules about her welfare get tighter, you see Cassie slowly reach a breaking point. When she thinks Tom is hiring her a driver/babysitter, Cassie reacts in a way she hasn't done since their early marriage, and it is very scary. You will say, "Thank goodness," when you finally meet Lily. She is a savior.
Something I always appreciate about the Cassie stories are the cyclical structure the author gives each book. We celebrate birthdays and holidays as the year and the seasons circle around and around. Just like our year passes, so does Cassie's. My favorite day of Cassie Corralled is Valentine's Day. Cassie shares that Tom doesn't celebrate this day, and since he is so generous to her the whole year round, she doesn't expect a gift. But this particular Valentine's Day Tom surprises her with a present that hits Cassie like Cupid shot her with an arrow. There is no box or paper, but it is something he makes himself just for her. The scene where she discovers her gift was so beautifully written, I could even see Cassie's face. Just a lovely passage.
There are so many little twists in this plot that you will enjoy. When Janet enters the story you will climb toward a climax that lands like a sucker punch. As always, I wish you "Happy Reading" and promise I have not spoiled any surprises. When Cassie answered my interview questions, she said something so special that I had to share it with you in closing. "....I'm most grateful for my Knight in shining armor - even though he's armed with an ivory hairbrush rather than a sword." Oh, PK, thank you. Cassie feels like a dear friend to me, and it's always so hard to wait for her next visit.