Monday, September 8, 2014
My grandpa raised me on good western movies. His favorite was Lonesome Dove and we watched it nearly every time we went to visit (this also may be because he owned only a handful of movies on VHS). His book shelves were also full of Louis L'Amour novels and I smuggled them (and the Danielle Steele novels) up to read in bed at night in the sloped ceiling guest bedroom of his snug little Wyoming house. The room was even decorated in a cowboy theme, so you know, it was an appropriate setting to get lost in the wilds of the west.
I was looking forward to Glorious by Jeff Guinn. Cash McLendon is on the run from St. Louis after his carelessness results in the death of his young bride and his wealthy father-in-law/employer is after his hide. Escaping the city and the clutches of his father-in-law's henchmen, Cash heads to the territory of Arizona in search of Gabrielle, the woman he still loves yet turned his back on to marry for financial security.
Cash ends up in the dusty little town of Glorious where every day the prospectors load up their mules and head into the hills in search of silver. Spurned by the woman he hurt, Cash is determined to leave right away but the members of the new community--owners of the few fledgling businesses--accept him quickly into their fold. Cash's experience with his former father-in-law also allows him to see the truth of situation between the little town and the nearby ranch whose owner has pledged to keep them safe from the marauding Apaches. When silver is discovered in the nearby mountains, Glorious becomes a genuine boom town and the stakes are raised for everyone.
In Glorious, Guinn introduces the reader to an unusual western hero. He can't ride a horse. He can't shoot straight. What he has, is a gift for scrutiny and observation of other people. He can read the situation and the actions of others. He knows how to deflect anger with a quick diversion of the conversation. With these skills and his street smarts, Cash is a unique and entertaining hero.
The pace of the story moves along at a comfortable speed. It's steady and engaging. The supporting characters are an amusing group of eccentric folks whose wide-eyed hope for the future is refreshing. The villain stays mostly in the shadows and seems pretty type cast. The main love interest has a touch of sass that is invigorating. However, there is little passion to the relationship between Cash and Gabrielle. I didn't really care if he got the girl. Frankly, I didn't see it happening.
I was pretty absorbed in the story but as I realized that the remaining pages were dwindling and I felt like surely the book needed more to adequately wrap up the tale, I began to worry. Sure enough, the action was rushed and I turned the final page to discover that the novel wasn't finished--it was just the beginning of a series. And right at this moment I'm not sure I care enough about Cash and Gabrielle and the other fine folks of Glorious to pick up the next novel. I suppose only time will tell.
Glorious by Jeff Guinn was published by Putnam in May 2014.
**I received a complimentary copy of Glorious. No other compensation was received. All opinions are my own.**
Posted by Cindi at 9:24 AM