Historical fiction about a young woman who runs from Philadelphia to the Wild West in the 1890s.
Debut novelist Perkovich presents Evie Logan, a free-spirited 18-year-old who’s being forced by her father to marry a vile man by the name of William Douglas. Despite the rarity of arranged marriages by the 1890s, Evie’s father uses the custom to create a favorable business arrangement for himself—with his daughter as a key bargaining chip. Unfortunately, William is a hateful man with few redeeming qualities. When Evie overhears him boasting about his involvement in a violent crime, she knows that she must escape before she’s sentenced to a life of misery. With a laughable disguise, she travels from Philadelphia all the way to a burgeoning hub of the Wild West in Colorado. Her quick wit and creative cooking skills land her a job, where she catches the attention of Jackson Douglas, who happens to be William’s cousin. Jackson realizes that this young redhead is the same girl he read about in the local paper; William placed an ad offering a hefty reward for her recapture. Jackson has always despised his cousin, so he hires Evie as his personal cook, hoping he can help her escape William for good. It’s not long, though, before others in town deduce that Evie is that same girl described in the paper. Evie, Jackson, and their friends must fend off threats until Jackson devises an outlandish plan to save Evie permanently. In this fast-paced, action-packed adventure, Perkovich creates one suspenseful scenario after another. She also peppers the tale with engrossing details about the growth of the Wild West in the late 19th century, expertly juxtaposing blithe Western customs with the stodgy, stifling mores of the Northeast. Although the story’s ending is somewhat predictable, readers will delight in following Evie through her adventures. Overall, the author has created a tale that’s chock-full of intriguing period particulars and a heroine who’s fresh, competent, and engaging.
A boomtown fairy-tale romance perfect for a light vacation read.