Nevada City in the 1880's was fast, rough and dangerous, particularly if you were a prostitute. Class of prostitute figured greatly into the comfort, treatment and survival potential of a working girl. You either worked in an upscale bordello or you were relegated to the end of the line working out of a crib. Our heroine, Rebecca Rose isn't from the upscale part of the line - she spent her first four years playing with her doll on the other side of a curtain from where her mother earned their living on her back. Rebecca is content in her mother's love unaware of what goes on when the curtain is closed, until the day a nasty client with a knife ends Rebecca's happiness. Sworn to avenge her mother's murder she lives each day knowing she'll have peace once the murderer is lying cold beneath the ground.
When Rebecca finds work in Denver she knows she's entering the life handed down to her by her mother. What she doesn't expect is to find is love with one of the town's most prominent citizens. Morgan Larkspur, has always done what is right, in fact he's ahead of his times. He's caring, considerate, hard working and looks out for people. What Rebecca and Morgan find together is altogether unexpected and unconventional. Their desire for each other is at odds with their own personal quests, her desire for revenge and his desire for conventional happiness.
Ms. Sundell writes an interesting combination of western, historical, romantic mystery. The author has a unique writing style that is sharp and to the point. The dialogue is punchy, not flowery but it works here. It read in a staccato fashion, very much the way I imagine the frontier was, short and to the point with no superfluous meanderings. The author's sense of pacing had me guessing as to who the murderer was, and threw me off very early on in the book - I was surprised to learn his identity, and I certainly didn't see it coming.
As a reader, what I would have liked was several more chapters. The conflict between the hero and heroine wraps almost before it's begun. The resolution of problems up and disappear in a matter of paragraphs. Secondary characters that were well thought out and developed are nearly forgotten at the end of the book. This is a western and I wanted it to be big and sprawling, I felt the length of the book gave it confines it was never meant to have.
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