Silver Lady
by Linda George
(Five Star, $26.95, PG-13) ISBN 1-59414-613-6
**
Usually in writing a review, we at TRR try not to give away endings. I will just warn you that to fully appreciate why I am steering you clear of this book, some of you might find that I give more information than normal. Silver Lady is listed as a “frontier romance” and so I settled in for a nice western. What I got was a book filled with predictable and stereotypical occurrences in lieu of a well done plotline.

Kate Mathison is traveling from Montana to Silverton, Colorado with her brother when he ends up falling from his horse and breaking his neck. The man who kills the rattler that spooked the horses and is about to strike Kate is Drew Kingman. Drew agrees to escort Kate. These two embark on the journey to Silverton together, but Kate is lying to Drew about her reason for traveling because she is fearful he will only want her money. (Kate is going to help her father, who abandoned her 20 years ago, because he wrote and said he needed help fighting off claim grabbers from his silver mine). Drew has a man chasing him who wants to kill him. It seems that a man named Carson rustled Drew’s cattle from his Texas ranch. Drew followed him and finally found him after the cattle had all been sold. When Drew attempted to take back the money he felt was his, a gun battle ensued and Carson ended up dead. Now Carson’s brother is after Drew, vowing vengeance.

The story moves along pretty well to this point. Kate is an interesting lady showing signs of toughness (having grown up as the hired help in a saloon) and signs of major vulnerability. Drew seems like a nice guy and other than lusting after Kate, is a gentleman and wanna-be rancher. The pacing is brisk and things are moving along on the romance front as well.

This is when the story starts to break down. Just miles into their trip, they are side tracked by an early snowstorm which strands them in an abandoned cabin in the mountains. Turns out this storm isn’t an isolated early storm, but the blizzard of all blizzards that strands them for the winter. With nothing else to do but while away their time, here is where the story flounders.

The next hundred pages are full of predictable western traditions. First they encounter a bear – because what self-respecting western set in the Rockies would be without one? And of course, that leads to a major death-threatening injury. When it looks like things could get no worse, a smelly and irritating trapper shows up and steals their horses. (I guess the snowstorm wasn’t quite the storm of the century because it seemed like a lot of people were traveling in it).

Anyway, then the fever/injury gets worse and here come the bad guys. They don’t kill Drew, only because they think he will die anyway. But never fear, we now have the “friendly Indian” thrown in for good measure, who provides the healing herbs needed to kill the germs and help Drew recover. And of course, Kate is the epitome of womanhood and superhero stature as she fights the battle with the injury and fights off the bad guys, keeps firewood in the cabin, dresses a deer and even manages to cook great stews.

Once they get on the road, there are more far-fetched resolutions to problems than I have seen in several books combined. There is a silly resolution to the story about Kate’s father that comes out of the blue. The resolution between Drew and his enemy is rushed and totally out of the realm of what would have happened after these two men have been enemies through what are now four states. And finally, the romance seems insipid and the resolution thrown together just to end the book. Unsatisfying is the most mild description I can find.

It is a shame that Linda George didn’t end this tale about half way. At least at that point, Silver Lady had potential. By the end, it had lost all its luster.

--Shirley Lyons


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