Dr. Catherine Bennett must run from a wrongly-accused murder charge, but will the untamed land of Colorado be far enough?
Author: Melissa Lenhardt
ISBN: 1432841971 (ISBN13: 9781432841973)
Genre: Western, Romance
Series? Yes; Sawbones/ Laura Elliston
First Publication Date: March 29th 2016 (421 pages)
Available Formats on Amazon:
- e-book $2.99
- Paperback $9.17
- Audio CD $105.99
- audiobook available through audible
Why I chose this book:
I was looking for another Western to read, one not necessarily a romance, with a strong woman lead. This one fit the bill and apparently is a part of a budding new subgenre: feminist westerns.
Female centered books that do not focus on romance are pretty rare. This book is also significant because it is the start of what some are calling a new subgenre of westerns: feminist western.
Dr. Catherine Bennett is in a rough spot. She is being charged for a murder she hasn’t done. As one of the only female doctors, she is not liked by many and since her accuser is rich, she has no choice but to run or be hanged. She takes her maid with her as they decide to head for the wilds of Colorado. They hope that with a new name and in a new place, far from New York, where news may not reach, that people will not figure out who she is.
Traveling to the West, is not easy, especially not for two women on their own. They saddle up with a wagon train going West, with the promise of military assistance, but they find the amount of armed men to be lacking. With the rumors of increased Indian attacks and savagery on travelers, many in the caravan are worried. Catherine thinks they must be exaggerated.
They will not have to wait long to find out one way or another.
This book was very difficult to get through. I pushed through, wanting to know what people found so interesting about this book, but I ended up being more repulsed than encouraged to read more. Let me explain.
Because Catherine is a doctor during a time when there is little that can be done to save people, I expected some medical gore. I did not expect attempted rape, rape, scalping, mass murder, and more. That came as a complete surprise and is something I feel that books should make sure people know they are getting into. There was so much detail. If I had not been reading this for an assignment, I wouldn’t have continued. Also, the portrayal of Native Americans was pretty horrible. True, there is one or two instances of showing they aren’t so bad, but considering our main character hates them and is attacked by them, there is a lot of negativity. It can make the reader feel quite uncomfortable.
Besides that, the book is quite slow-paced for my taste, but I have read that many others have found it to be at a good solid clip. The beginning is slow, in my opinion, the middle is okay, but the ending is decently fast. This mixed pacing along with the abruptness of the next parts, makes the book confusing at times. For example, at the end of part one, everything is going great, then the next page, the beginning of part two, they are in the middle of an attack. At first, I thought I was missing pages.
The characters are developed well and the setting is described nicely. So, there are some good parts to the book. The medical knowledge of the time is interesting to learn about as well.
I probably will not be continuing this series.
West, medical practices, woman doctor, compelling characters, gritty writing style
“Clues for the Future”
scalping, gang rape, forced marriage, Dr. Catherine Bennett -> Laura Elliston, Kindle, military, Texas, Native Americans, Civil War references
- Quality: 3★
- Popularity: 1★
This book is one for a very select audience
- True Sisters by Sandra Dallas
Both books features strong female characters in peril as they travel West.
- Ride the River by Louis L’Amour
Both books take place in the same time period with a strong female character.
- Sisters of Shiloh by Kathy & Becky Hepinstall
Female characters are at the front of these novels, with romance and many trials.
For starters, I would definitely mention that there is some brutal and harsh language and events before talking so people will know before getting interested if they cannot handle it.
I would focus on Catherine and her journey. I wouldn’t go deep into who she is, but more about her problem and her apparent solution. I might open the floor asking what the readers think will happen and give a little hint about part 2.
Another take on this would be to talk about her profession and her sex, about how while she isn’t always believed she is needed. “Perhaps being needed will out weigh people’s want to turn her in.”
- What did you think about the attempted rape at the beginning of the book? Was it part of the plot to destroy her, unrelated, or even needed for the story?
- Do you agree with everyone around her who told her to pretend to be a midwife?
- What is your opinion on Catherine’s character?
- What did you think of the ending?
- Will you read the sequel? What do you hope will happen? Do you think Kindle will stay with her?