A murder arranged as a suicide … a missing deed … and a bereft daughter whose sheltered world is shattered.
August, 1869: Lily Granville is stunned by her father’s murder.
Only one other person knows about a valuable California gold mine deed — both are now missing.
Lily heads west on the newly opened transcontinental railroad, determined to track the killer. She soon realizes she is no longer the hunter but the prey.
As things progress from bad to worse, Lily is uncertain who to trust—the China-bound missionary who wants to marry her, or the wandering Texan who offers to protect her … for a price.
Will Lily survive the journey and unexpected betrayal?
Meg is an author, artist (working in watercolour, acrylic and pen/ink media) and amateur photographer.
Born and raised in southeast Michigan, she lives with her husband, a “Make My Day” Malti-poo and a drooling black cat.
She is a staff writer for RE/MAX Platinum in Michigan – writing articles about the real estate market, community events and Realtors – and for Lake Effect Living, a West Coast of Michigan tourist on-line magazine.
Meg earned an M.A. degree through Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction program, joined Romance Writers of America , where she learned much more about the business of writing romance, then entered the SHU programme for a second time, to tackle the ‘mysteries’ of writing in the mystery genre.
She now writes historical mysteries and romantic suspense, although she first became published in the children’s market in 1997 with puzzles, a rebus, poems, short stories and illustrations.
“The prairie possessed a luminous glory all its own, mesmerizing and free, unashamed of its naked grassland.”
A Western historical fiction and romance, mixed with plenty of suspense, murder and adventure, which had me hooked from the first page to the last.
Lily is a girl ahead of her time. Unlike many of her contemporaries she is educated in the ways of the world, intelligent, strong willed and self-sufficient. Qualities which have been instilled in her by a father she loves and whose good name she is determined to see restored after his sudden and violent death. Traits which defy the traditions of the period, for a young lady with class and breeding should be obedient, ornamental, educated only in the finer arts and subservient to men in all things.
Lily’s character is vivid in detail and well defined, even to the point where she is forced to admit that she is not quite as ‘au fait’ in the ways of the world as she has assumed herself to be and that she needs to seek help and advice when it is required. She quickly learns that she needs to be discerning about who she can and cannot trust, but that trust and help needs to be given on her own terms. Her judgement about Ace, her chosen and well paid protector, is called into question on more than one occasion, however her intuitive decision that she can depend on him no matter what, turns out to be well founded and stands her in good stead against both family and friends, who would betray her. Our independent heroine is certainly living outside of her time and must use all her wiles and skills to determine her ever-growing feelings for her new protector and just how to deal with them.
All of the characters, including those who only appear briefly, have been developed and portrayed in this same detailed way, affording them all the ability to draw the reader into the story, each with their own self-centred and selfish motives, meanness of spirit and family values, greed and duplicity.
Perhaps the surprise amongst the protagonists is Ace Diamond, the one person who would be assumed to be along for the ride, only for what gains he can amass for himself at Lily’s expense. Instead we see a man, yes a little rough around the edges, maybe short on temper, a little too quick with his fists and who definitely doesn’t suffer fools gladly. We also get more than a glimpse of his inner control, sense of fairness, perceptiveness in his character analysis of those who would hurt or betray Lily, and his genuine growing affection for Lily, which appears to be a surprise even to himself and tests his control to its utmost limits.
The plotline, whilst to some degree predictable, is well crafted, with plenty of unexpected twists and turns. There is a good balance struck between romance and suspense, with the underlying romantic and sexual feelings which are growing between Lily and Ace, forming an integral, yet not overwhelming part of the story. The emphasis manages to remain firmly centred around Lily’s quest to find the one person she thinks may be able to help her track down the people who meted out such a cruel retribution on her father.
The vastness, primeval beauty, changing scenery and vistas of a new and fledgling country are brought to life in clear and vivid detail, as we journey across the breadth of the country by train, from Lily’s home in the more prosperous and sophisticated Chicago of the Eastern Seaboard; to the wild, untamed territory of the Western Californian lands.
Whilst this episode of Lily’s quest reaches a natural, if slightly unexpected conclusion, with the storyline drawing to an unhurried climax, we are still left to wonder what is to become of Lily’s personal and romantic future and thus Meg has gently paved the way for a sequel, no doubt rich with the promise of what is to come with Lily’s impending maturity, and which, I understand, is well underway as I write this post.
This book was a review copy, sent to me by the author, Meg Mims and as such, was free of charge.
This in no way influenced any comments I may have expressed about the book, in any blog article I have posted. Any thoughts or comments are my own personal opinion and I am in no way being monetarily compensated for this, or any other article.
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