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Good Points: Strong female lead. Weak Points: 1. Highly pacifistic heroes. These are afraid to hurt their attackers whatever these throw at them. Makes it highly unrealistic in the Wild West. 2. The vocabulary is unnecessarily complex, exacerbating it for non-native speakers. 3. There is no romance except the last 2 pages. How this book won the Spur Award 2019 for Best Western Romance Novel is beyond me. Sorry, highly disappointing. Alternative reads I enjoyed a lot and I consider much better alternatives are Duane Boehm's Gideon Johann Series or C.J. Petit's works, e.g. Chance.
A young woman who suffered terrible abuse as a child goes back to her old home. Determined to be self-sufficient and independent, January nevertheless hides from the world behind a facade as bristly as a porcupine. Unbeknownst to her, she has stepped into the middle of a land grab over water rights. She nurses a wounded rancher whose sweet and kind personality draws out the real January. But it is when she faces that same kind of evil abuse, this time as a woman and not a child, that January finally puts to rest her demons. The author has used an interesting concept of having January build a bridge, and at the same time booby trap and disguise the barn she is living in. (And yes, women in the old west were often forced to learn all kinds of skills to survive.) That January had to do all these things alone adds to the pathos of the character. Lots of action and suspense in this good vs evil female driven story.
I found a new-to-me author that writes good old-fashioned historical westerns that will keep the pages turning. This book is the first I’ve read by this author and I’m immediately sharing it with my hubby as it is the only genre’ he loves to read. Miss January is a talented wood-worker, extraordinary skills in self preservation and was a gal to be reckoned with. Poor Shay Billings didn’t know how to deal with her many talents but was happy when she found him along the trail and helped bandage his wounds that nearly took his life. This story-line has many twists, turns and wonderful imagination in use of land and water to save her own life that I loved every minute of this book. I also liked the fact this author got right to the story, wrote the book and finished it up without dragging it out on worthless pages that can make a book tiresome. Thanks for a wonderful day of reading!
Don't let the title buck you off. This is not just formulaic western fiction. It differs from standard violence-first-last-and-all-the-time westerns. There is both a hero and a heroine and each are strong and competent. Neither want conflict but it is forced on them by their efforts to avoid it but yet still do what is right. Gunshots are debilitating and recovery is slow, not just shrugged off as nothing. I plan to read more of these books.
I loved this novel, particularly the main character, a woman who could hold her own in the worst of circumstances, and did. Don't miss "The Woman Who Built A Bridge" a well-told western with a plot that's new and different and holds the reader from page one to the last.