Outlander meets post-Civil War unrest in this fast-paced historical debut.
When Dr. Catherine Bennett is wrongfully accused of murder, she knows her fate likely lies with a noose unless she can disappear. Fleeing with a bounty on her head, she escapes with her maid to the uncharted territories of Colorado to build a new life with a new name. Although the story of the murderess in New York is common gossip, Catherine's false identity serves her well as she fills in as a temporary army doctor. But in a land unknown, so large and yet so small, a female doctor can only hide for so long.
Melissa Lenhardt writes mystery, historical fiction, and women’s fiction. Her short fiction has appeared in Heater Mystery Magazine, The Western Online, and Christmas Nookies, a holiday romance anthology. Her debut novel, Stillwater, was a finalist for the 2014 Whidbey Writers’ MFA Alumni Emerging Writers Contest. She is a member of the DFW Writers’ Workshop and vice president of the Sisters in Crime North Dallas Chapter. Melissa lives in Texas with her husband and two sons.
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I wanted to begin by saying how in love I am with the cover. My favorite color is purple so I'm bias from the start, but also how perfectly this picture captures the essence of the story before opening to the first page. The elegance of the ruffles and curls and the high neckline and uptight posture shows that Catherine takes her profession seriously and is a woman to not be reckoned with. I don’t normally choose to read historical fiction but after judging the book by its cover (bad habit), I decided to give it a try. I was blown away by how much I enjoyed this.
The adventure was nonstop, never giving way to a slow moment. As soon as you presumed a resolution was in the works and a calm was approaching the characters, you were right back to biting your nails at a new dilemma. This story held no boundaries and covered more trepidation than I ever thought possible. I got to the point, as I formed connections with the characters, where I felt grateful to not live in that period of time and pitied the situations they were presented with. My heart was repeatedly ripped to shreds and mended with the events of this story and I felt the hope and hopelessness as well as the fear, love, and despair Catherine must have felt as her journey progressed.
The construction of this story and the fluency of the western dialect and slang was beautifully done. The interactions between characters and depth each one took on was impressive as well as the intertwining and unbeknownst history between them, which was exhilarating to discover. The way the story line from beginning to end complimented itself, as Catherine started out a certain way and after all that happened to her was still able to capture a part of her past and end the journey the same way.
I loved this book and couldn’t stop sharing with my husband my excitement as events unfolded and he even began to inquiry on what new things were unraveling as I continued. I would give this the highest rating (if you couldn’t already tell) with five out of five stars. This was a thrilling, unpredictable roller coaster that held my heart from the start.
GIVEAWAY! THREE WINNERS EACH