Thoughts After Reading:
My ideal romance novel would have a perfect balance of lighthearted comedy as well as authentic romance development. Summed together, Beth Ciotta's Lasso the Moon achieves about one out of the two. The book is a rather fluffy western romantic adventure involving a feisty heroine and a frequently exasperated hero. On the positive side, the storyline is often fun and humorous and contains the occasional cute moment between the protagonists. On the negative side, the writing can be too exclamatory at times, the characters are a bit stereotypical, the romance tends to be driven by the physical aspect of the relationship, and the conflicts can be seen from a mile away. As a last disappointment, Ciotta makes the poor decision of focusing the final conflict on the hero saying the words "I love you" rather than any sort of real manifestation of that love.
The heroine of Lasso the Moon is one of those characters often with more bluster than common sense between her two ears. She is depicted as a passionate musician, and she blindly follows those passionate inclinations... no matter how unreasonable they are. At the beginning of the book, the reader finds the heroine trying to make her way to an opera house on her own. She made a childhood promise to her father - just days before he died - that she would "lasso the moon" by becoming the famous performer, and she intends to fulfill that promise. Meanwhile, the beginning of the story finds the honorable hero resigning from being a sheriff. His recently deceased uncle bequeathed him with a opera house with the provision that he would marry within a few weeks. The hero reluctantly plans to follow the dictates of the will, somehow. The two main characters cross each other's path a few times as they travel, with the hero eventually chaperoning the heroine in the hopes of preventing her from getting into serious trouble. Both protagonists are very physically attracted to each other from the start, although the hero decides the heroine must be insane and the heroine is against the idea of marriage. A series of events befall the characters over the course of the plot, ultimately leading to some hurt feelings and the "prerequisite" kidnapping. The final conflict and resolution were extremely predictable, but also included a few endearing scenes.
Beth Ciotta's Lasso the Moon turned out to be a lighthearted, moderately enjoyable western romance. The romance was sweet and lightweight, but at the expense of being unable to demonstrate much in the way of genuine romance development between the lead characters. It is not a novel I would give an enthusiastic recommendation, but might be a book to consider if you are looking for a fluffy western.