Monday, June 21, 2004

My long weekend started off with a bang on Thursday when I got a flat tire on my way home from work. Luckily I was still in the city, and was able to pull off the main drag on to a residential street.

I know, it was only a flat tire - but most of the flat tires in my life have occurred around my boyfriend - who has dutifully done the dirty work. Besides the crappy jack that Honda puts in their cars - everything went smoothly, and I was able to get the tire patched on Friday.

I didn't get much reading done this weekend, but I did manage to finish At Twilight by Beth Henderson. Henderson has written other books, but her name flew so low under my radar that I'd hazard a guess that many readers will think she's debuting.

The hero and his sister have spent the 3 years after the Civil War hunting down a gang of outlaws that conveniently used the Confederacy as an excuse to commit outlaw thuggery. The sister has taken to posing as a fallen Southern belle turned gambler to ferret out information, while the hero does the actual killing. Having disposed of another gang member in Lone Tree, Texas - he finds himself on the wrong side of a hangman's noose, but manages escape.

It's while he's looking to commandeer a horse that he comes across the heroine - who is lying unconscious outside her ramshackle ranch. Her no-good dead husband not only got shot for cheating at cards, he lost the deed to the ranch, and threw his wife into the pot for kicks - with the town's greedy banker coming up the big winner. When the hero shows up, she sees it as her perfect opportunity to escape. With her infant daughter in tow, she proposes they pose as a traveling family to elude the posse.

Despite some pacing issues (the middle drags a bit), this was a great western road romance. Lots of atmosphere, and plenty of grit. The hero's sister especially is living with some very painful demons, which read like a kick in the gut. I hope Henderson has a story in her for the sister, because I selfishly love to read about heroines who aren't simpering virginal idiots. And here's hoping that if Henderson does write that book - that someone has the good sense to publish it.

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