Title: The Outlaw Takes a Bride
Author: Susan Page Davis
Publisher: Shiloh Run Press
Sally Golding is desperate to leave St. Louis. She has been living with a preacher and his wife after the untimely death of her abusive husband. She was unable to make ends meet on her own and was forced to accept the charity of the preacher. However, she didn’t bargain on becoming a veritable slave, doing all the housework, mending and such for no pay and constantly criticized by the preacher’s lazy wife. In her desperation, she answers an ad for a mail-order bride. She has been corresponding with Mark Paynter for several months and he has finally asked her to marry him. She is so relieved that she sets out right away for Texas. When she arrives, she finds Mark less enthusiastic than his letters and wonders if their marriage will survive.
Johnny Paynter has been working on a ranch when he is suddenly accused of killing the ranch foreman. One of the other cowpokes rushes to Johnny to give him the news and offers to ride out with him for company. The two head to Johnny’s brother’s place in Texas to lie low for a while. Johnny had wanted to immediately go to the sheriff to tell him that Johnny wasn’t guilty and had done nothing wrong, but Johnny’s friend convinced him the other ranch hands were in a lynching mood and Johnny’s chances of surviving for a trial weren’t good. Once they arrive in Texas, they find themselves in another mess. Johnny wants to go to the sheriff, but again his friend convinces him how much trouble he would be in if he did that. Johnny lies once again and is miserable doing so, but can see no way out. Then, Sally arrives and the lies continue to build.
This is a story set in the 1880s in Texas. The story moves along with the constant threat of a return of the gang who has looted some nearby ranches and even killed some men, but the drama for me was reading about how the lies impact day-to-day living and relationships. The plot was a bit slow in some spots the ending was predictable, but I still enjoyed reading this historical Western romance.
My rating is 3.5 stars.
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