REVIEW of Fancy Pants (Only in Gooding #1) by Cathy Marie Hake

Publication Date: September 30, 2007

About the Author: As a child, Cathy Marie Hake had an imaginary playmate. Now “grown up,” she indulges in a host of imaginary friends as she writes. She teasingly says she decided if those voices in her head were talking, she might as well write down what they said and make a living by doing it. She met her sweetheart in the High School department at church and married him after finishing nursing school. They live in Southern California and have two children and two dogs (one of them even moos – one of the dogs that is, not the kids). Faith in God, a loving family, and a wacky sense of the ridiculous keep her going.

In her writing, Cathy attempts to capture a unique glimpse of life and how a man and woman can overcome obstacles when motivated by love. In her inspirational pieces she enjoys the freedom of showing how Christ can enrich a loving couple’s relationship.


Lady Sydney Hathwell has traveled all the way to America to meet her betrothed–only to to discover that he is a self-important, womanizing cad whom she could never love. Orphaned and alone, she disappears to the only place she can think of, the Texas ranch of her mother’s American brother, an uncle whom she has never met.

Uncle Fuller’s heart is as good as gold, but he’s adamantly opposed to having women on the ranch. Mistaking Sydney’s androgynous name for a boy’s name, he invites his “nephew” out to the ranch. Determined to hide from her overbearing fiance who won’t take no for an answer, Sydney dresses as a boy and resolves to ride out the next six months until she comes of age and can legally make her own decisions.

With Uncle Fuller detained for medical treatments in the big city, it’s “Big Tim” Creighton who welcomes “Syd” to the ranch. Tim is disgusted with the new kid’s effeminate ways and lack of muscle. He determines to do his duty by his boss and make a man out of this British dandy. What follows is a crash course in hard labor for a petite and dainty society miss. But mucking stalls and plowing fields are the least of Sydney’s worries as she scrambles to keep Tim and the other ranch hands from finding out her secret.

As she deals with Tim’s highhanded ways, Sydney begins to discover that although he’s a gruff man, he’s also a good man and a god-fearing one. With grit and perseverance, Sydney finally begins to feel accepted by Tim. But will he ever forgive her for making a fool of him once he discovers that Mr. Fancy Pants is a fine British lady?

This amusing inspirational romance had some laugh out loud moments. The situational comedy was superb, particularly when the ranch hands take Sydney down to the town brothel and a horrified Tim comes to rescue him…or should I say, her. The latter part of the book dealing with Sydney’s conversion did feel a little heavy handed and more redolent of modern evangelicalism than 1800s Christianity, but having Tim’s faith be an essential part of the book added some seriousness to an otherwise fluffy romance. This was an enjoyable read by an author new to me.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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