By Paula L. Silici
Moonlight Mesa Associates, May 2011
Left by a buffalo hunter on the doorstep of a brothel after her parents are massacred by Indians, young Meg Finn grows up to loathe her life as the cleaning woman at Dodge City’s notorious Black Boots Inn. When she is tricked by the madam into thinking she’s been sold for one night’s pleasure to mysterious rancher Nathan Barris, her world is turned upside down. So begins Meg’s adventure farther west to search for her Uncle Sean. Little does she know that fate will bring her face to face with Nate Barris again. Will the secrets she harbors keep her from finding love and acceptance in his arms at last, or will those secrets completely destroy them both?
I picked this book with some trepidation, as it’s not my usual reading choice, for this book is billed as a western romance. Now I’ve not read any out and out romance books before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. What I did find out very quickly is that Paula L. Silici knows how to write, knows how to create believable characters that capture the imagination from the opening scenes, knows how to keep her readers turning the pages.
This is a book that deals with the happiness and fear that falling in love brings forth within people and hidden secrets that could rip apart their dreams – and in this case it’s not just Meg’s story but there’s a secondary romance thread that follows the fortunes of Holly, a girl who leaves the Black Boots Inn along with Meg. Holly has to deal with a cowboy who knows what she did for a living and seems determined to destroy any hope of her starting afresh. How Roy Lunt will be dealt with was one of the storylines that kept me eager to keep reading.
There’s also another thread to this tale. This involves three orphan children that are rescued from being sold as slaves by Meg and her friends. Taking these children with them adds another enemy that wants these children back so must be confronted at some point. At first this storyline is kept to the sidelines, simmering just under the surface before it rears its ugly head and leads to a final shootout and ultimately leads to repairing damage done to other relationships within this fast moving story.
As Shirely Johnson, senior reviewer for the MidWest Book Review says, “This is a wonderful romantic read laced with adventure, mystery, and western flair.” And I don’t think I could sum it up any better than that.