Leaving Whiskey Bend
Grand Central, Nov 2008, $13.99
In 1890 Whiskey Bend, Colorado, Chester Remnick beat up his stepsister Mary in public; none of the men intervened. Mary’s friend Pearl Parsons warns Chester to stay away from her and his stepsister or she will use her rifle to convert him into a hen; she does shoot him in the leg. The two women and schoolteacher Hallie Wolcott decide to flee the brutality and abuse of the town.
A previous victim of abuse, Pearl vows to find a safe haven for her friends. A storm almost kills Mary, but she is rescued by a rancher Eli Morgan, who gives them shelter at his rundown spread while she heals over the objection of his malicious mother who knows the women mean trouble and wants them to leave. Outraged from the affront Chester is hunting the women with plans to take the friends to teach them a lesson and bring home his stepsister to take care of his shack. Eli has his own issues as his mom never forgave him for abandoning the family years ago and a need to find out who murdered his younger brother Caleb. As he and Hallie fall in love, neither are prepared for an unknown adversary who wants him dead.
Although intriguing with the premise of late nineteenth century abuse and with solid key characters, the romance fails to come across as realistic; as that and the climax seem abrupt. Still fans of Dorothy Garlock will enjoy her western romance as family issues threaten the lives of Eli and the three women he vows to protect.