Roy & Lillie: A Love Story
Loren D. Estleman
Forge, Aug 2010, $24.99
Roy was Judge Roy Bean the notorious corrupt Justice of the Peace in West Texas who was a killer, womanizer, thief and those were his better attributes. Lillie was “Jersey Lily” Lillie Langtry, a renowned performer and toast of Royalty and the arts whose greatest performance may have been using her health and a besotted doctor to escape marital rusticating. They never met, but exchanged correspondence over two decades as he was her greatest admirer and she was appreciative of her greatest fan. Only death kept them finally from meeting in his Texas.
This is a great blending of historical facts with Loren D. Estleman filling in the gaps with his imagination so that the audience obtains a powerful biographical historical fiction. Both are scoundrels in their own ways with his obviously violent while hers seductive. Yet though there are fabrications and hyperbole in their correspondence, their passion to one day meet to see what happens makes their distant relationship a love story for the ages as only a master writer, could bring what they never achieved in life, them together.