Comment: This is one of the author's most known works and I had it in the pile for some time now. It's another title I've gotten out of a list of several and I decided to read it this month. This is a western historical and presents two stories in one.
This is the story of Bowie Stone and how he is rescued from hanging because there is a law in Kansas that allowed women to marry condemned man in case men were missing which surely was the case after the wars in America. Bowie is an ex officer that was accused of disrespect and murder but Rosie Mulvehey thinks he can be the man she needs to get her farm up again and then she'll finally get her revenge on someone she despises.
At the same time we see Bowie and Rosie deal with married life, we follow Susan Stone, a young woman back east who suddenly sees herself and her young son with only forty dollars to her name because her father in law died and didn't leave her a penny. Susan needs her husband's death certificate to inherit his personal estate but because that document isn't available and she needs to leave the house, she accepts a bride mail order and travels with her son to Wyoming.
The fates of Rosie and Susan are connected despite the distance between them but what they do certainly puts them in different directions...
Ok, so although we only get a confirmation well into the story, it's not necessary to be a genius to understand the connection between Rosie and Susan, the title is quite explicit - which is a surprise - considering how long it takes for the reader to actually know what happened.
Of course part of the interest if to find out what happened for things to be like this.
All in all, this story didn't win me over although it has so many elements I consider interesting, like the development between each woman and an important man in their lives, as well as the personal development they embark on.
Rosie and Bowie have a funny relationship in a way because Rosie is impulsive and she only knows how to deal with her disappointments, pain and anger by drinking. She thinks she will have revenge on her evil stepfather by growing crops where he never did and because he always told her she wasn't good enough or pretty or smart. Rosie lives up to people's low expectations by dressing badly, behaving even worse, drinking and scarce bathing. But Rosie is the one that has the most amazing evolution and all because of love. I liked her personality, her need to be brave and her fragility when it came to her self image. She is a drunk but she admits it at some point and she wants to get better because Bowie teaches her not all the believed in was true.
Bowie seems a god character, obviously he has honor and a good heart and I liked learning things about him and the dilemmas he must have faced were believable. Their relationship was cute.
Susan meets Grensham Harte in the train station after an awful journey. He doesn't want her because she didn't tell him she was widow and a mother. But while she tries to deal with the constant new challenges in her life, they keep meeting and with time Susan starts to believe in herself and finds something she wants to do with her life and he realizes she's the right woman for him. Their relationship was interesting, more polite and aloof than Rosie and Bowie's.
Susan is a sweet character and I understand her difficulty in being assertive, in fighting for herself, in being independent, but her whining in the beginning and her fear of making a decision was a bit too much. Her personality improved a lot and that helped me to like her as time went on.
This wasn't a perfect read, no. I was annoyed at the fact certain things had to happen for women to change themselves not because they really wanted but because they had a situation that would improve because of that. I also didn't like at all what happened in Susan's life, it was pointless and stupid and over the top and meaningless to the plot in my opinion.
The end was also very disappointing and rushed in a way. I can't understand what the author's aim was by doing things like that. These two things really ruined part of the story for me, therefore the lower grade than what I intended.
Nevertheless, an interesting historical and the author's trademark writing and voice are certainly here to be noticed. I still have other titles by her which I hope will turn out better than this one.