Title: Letters and Lies
Author: Colleen L. Donnelly
Genre: Historical Western Romance
Louise Archer boards a westbound train in St. Louis to find the Kansas homesteader who wooed and proposed to her by correspondence, then jilted her by telegram – Don't come, I can't marry you. Giving a false name to hide her humiliation, her lie backfires when a marshal interferes and offers her his seat. Marshal Everett McCloud intends to verify the woman coming to marry his homesteading friend is suitable. At the St. Louis train station, his plan detours when he offers his seat to a captivating woman whose name thankfully isn't Louise Archer. Everett's plans thwart hers, until he begins to resemble the man she came west to find, and she the woman meant to marry his friend.
"Don't come, I can't marry you." Louise Archer's heart is crushed when she receives a telegram from her intended, a man who she's never met but fell in love with via his letters. Does that stop Louise? No, she boards a train west to Kansas determined to convince Jim to marry her. But her well-laid plans unravel when she meets Everett on the same train. She gives an alias while telling lie after lie. As her lies snowball, she finds herself in a myriad of trouble. Can she sort everything out and escape the noose to find her open door or will she suffer the consequences or her lies?
Letters and Lies is a heart wrenching story about one woman's quest for a happily ever after. Colleen L. Donnelly takes on the classic mail-order bride trope and adds a new element to it. The descriptive narration told from Louise's POV has a poetic quality to it. When she's thinking to herself while doing something mundane, her recollection of one of Jim's letters adds a depth to the plot. I connected with Louise right away and found her spunkiness refreshing. The suspenseful sub-plot had me whipping through the pages. There's plenty of twists and turns I didn't see coming. The ending tugged at my heartstrings. If you're looking for a historical western romance with larger than life characters and a whip-smart romantic at heart heroine, you'll love Letters and Lies. Highly recommend!
My Rating: 5 stars
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Colleen L. Donnelly resides in the Midwestern United States. Born and raised in this central part of the country, she eventually broadened her horizons by exploring and experiencing other areas and cultures until she returned to her home ground to settle for good. Colleen always knew, or was told, she could/should write, but there was never enough time until education, family, and career were well established. Now she loves creating character driven tales, telling her stories with a literary style that flows at a gentle and smooth pace. Besides writing, Colleen enjoys the outdoors, theater, treasure hunting through antique malls and flea markets, and rubbing shoulders with other creative people. Colleen always has her eyes and ears open for that one statement or unexpected incident that sprouts like a tiny seed into her next new novel.
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Reviewed by: Mrs. N
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