Dawn Comes Early tells the story of two women: Miss Walker, the owner of Last Chance Ranch, who has chosen a solitary life on the ranch, and Kate Tenney, a woman responding to a advertisement seeking an heiress to the Last Chance Ranch. Miss Walker is seeking a strong, independent woman to run the ranch upon her passing, but she requires that the woman be able to handle the ranch, and that the woman signs a Spinster Pact - agreeing to remain unmarried in order to take possession of the ranch. Kate has been seeking stability her entire life, and has also forged a deep mistrust of men, so this situation seems an answer to prayer for her. If she prayed, that is. When she arrives, she finds that the ranch is more than she bargained for, in terms of the work required of her, and that it might be less than she needs in life.
Overall, this was a pretty typical western romance book. There was the expected heroine who thinks she doesn't need a husband, and the strong, caring man who sets out to prove otherwise. Throw in some outlaws and meddling family members, and it makes for an entertaining read, although not a terribly exciting one. I liked Kate, and I liked the blacksmith Luke as characters. I did like, without trying to spoil the book, that the ending wasn't perfect. Since this is the first in the series, however, I expect that certain things may continue to work out in the next book. And I am okay with that. Sometimes books wrap up way more neatly than life ever could, and it was nice that the heroine had to make some hard choices, without everything coming together at the end, in spite of them.
I give this book 3 stars. I am intrigued at the prospect of this series and these characters continuing.