Starting today, 7/08/2016 through 7/12/2016 you can get
The Dolan Girls by S.R. Mallery
“The Dolan Girls by S. R. Mallery has it all. Set in Nebraska during the 1800s, whorehouse madams, ladies of the night, a schoolmarm, a Pinkerton detective, a Shakespeare-quoting old coot, brutal outlaws, and a horse-wrangler fill out the cast of characters. Added to the mix are colorful descriptions of an 1856 land rush, Buffalo Bill and his Wild West Show, Annie Oakley, bank/train robberies, small town local politics, and of course, romance. Two, in fact!”
“The Dolan girls will pull at your heart, …”-5 Stars
“A great and exciting read. I always like a good first line.”-5 Stars
“Do you like westerns? Romances? Then The Dolan Girls is your book.”-4 Stars
Title: The Dolan Girls Author: S. R. Mallery ISBN13: 978-1519695246 ASIN: B018Y063XA Published: 3 December 2015 Pages: 212 Genre: Historical Romance, Victorian, Western
First the description:
Set in Nebraska during the 1800s, whorehouse madams, ladies of the night, a schoolmarm, a Pinkerton detective, a Shakespeare-quoting old coot, brutal outlaws, and a horse-wrangler fill out the cast of characters. Add to the mix are colorful descriptions of an 1856 land rush, Buffalo Bill and his Wild West Show, Annie Oakley, bank/train robberies, small town local politics, and of course, romance. Two, in fact!
Body of review:
I was given a free copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.
I’ve read two of S. R. Mallery’s books before and I’ve always admired her ease in creating stories emotionally real and characters we care for set in historical eras and around historical events that add dimension and depth to the narration. Most of her stories centre on female protagonists and we experience through them the travails and challenges these women had to face in different times in history, be it because of their class, race, gender, profession or their situation.
Cora and Minnie, the young girls arrived from Ireland with their parents, who plan to get some land in Nebraska but fail, end up alone and living in a brothel after tragedy strikes. Madam Ana treats them like her daughters and the brothel becomes their home and later their business. Cora’s love story is ruined by a terrible event, a baddie with no redeeming qualities (Wes’) rapes her and impregnates her, and she doesn’t trust men again. She focuses her life on the business and her family, and wants to ensure that her daughter will be respected and safe, even against her wishes.
The three Dolan girls, Cora, Minnie and Ellie embody different models of womanhood: Cora worries about society’s views and being respected, and is straight-laced and serious. Minnie is free, unconventional and only worries about doing what’s right and fun, no matter what anybody else might think. Ellie loves education, learning, and is passionate about enlightening the population and not taking no for an answer. Despite their differences, they all have in common their strength, their perseverance, and their determination to live life their own way, no matter what polite society might think.
Annie Oakley, Buffalo Bill and Lola Montez make significant appearances and add to the historical interest but their appearance is not an exercise in hero worshiping. The author blends beautifully historical detail, language and décor without dumping information or appearing to quote from a textbook.
The bandits’ train-raid and later arrival at South Benton, Buffalo Bill’s first show, and the Pinkerton detective agency and their work add a good dose of adventure and make it a page turner even for people who wouldn’t consider reading a standard romantic novel.
The male protagonists are heroic but understanding and not overbearing. Their behaviour seemed to me somewhat idealised but well within the conventions of the genre.
The Dolan Girls shows us that winning the West wasn’t only a man’s endeavour, that not all immigrants were the same (Irish not being welcome with open arms), that gender violence is not new, and that women can be strong together.
In sum, a great read and a must for people who love historical romances. Ah, and don’t worry about the ending. You’ll love it!
What the book is about: A historical romance following a family, the Dolans, who have immigrated to the US from Ireland, in search of a better life. Unfortunately tragedy strikes hard and the two girls, Cora and Minnie, end up living at a brothel that becomes their home and their family. The two sisters, and later Ellie, Cora’s daughter, show enterprise, strength and exemplify how difficult it was to be a woman in the 1800s in the Wild West.
Book Highlights: The relationships between the sisters and later with Ellie, the women’s community, including the Doves, the authentic historical feel without going overboard, a fantastic ending. Historical events and figures (like Annie Oakley and Buffalo Bill) are brought to life in all their human greatness (or smallness).
Challenges of the book: Although there are no explicit sexual scenes, some of the topics, like the rape, might be hard for some readers, as the emotional impact and the anxiety and anguish are vividly rendered.
What do you get from it: A great story of strong women that provides an insight into a historical era, popular but misunderstood and often misrepresented.
What I would have changed if anything: I was not sure the fragments of the story that are quoted again throughout, that seem to reflect internal thoughts or preoccupations of the characters, added much to the story.
Who Would I recommend this book to?: To anybody who likes historical romances, particularly in that era, with great adventures and a terrific ending.
Ratings: Realistic Characterization: 3.5/5 Made Me Think: 4/5 Overall enjoyment: 4.5/5 Readability: 5/5 Recommended: 4.5/5 Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Buy it at: Format & Pricing: Paperback: $ 8.50 Kindle: $ 2.99
You are never going to believe this! I managed to get an interview with author, Andrew Joyce about his two novels and the characters he chose called, “Redemption” and “Molly Lee.”
Andrew Joyce lives on a boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with his dog Danny. “MOLLY LEE” is a follow-up novel to the best-selling “REDEMPTION: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer.”
Here is the description of “Redemption,” from Amazon:
“Three men come together in the town of Redemption Colorado, each for his own purpose. Huck Finn is a famous lawman not afraid to use his gun to protect the weak. He has come to right a terrible wrong. After his wife’s death, Tom Sawyer does not want to live anymore; he has come to die. The third man, the Laramie Kid, a killer Huck and Tom befriended years earlier has come to kill a man. For these three men Death is a constant companion. For these three men it is their last chance for redemption.”
Here is the description of “Molly Lee,” from Amazon:
“Molly is about to set off on the quest of a lifetime . . . of two lifetimes.
It’s 1861 and the Civil War has just started. Molly is an eighteen-year-old girl living on her family’s farm in Virginia when two deserters from the Southern Cause enter her life. One of them—a twenty-four-year-old Huck Finn—ends up saving her virtue, if not her life.
Molly is so enamored with Huck, she wants to run away with him. But Huck has other plans and is gone the next morning before she awakens. Thus starts a sequence of events that leads Molly into adventure after adventure; most of them not so nice.
We follow the travails of Molly Lee, starting when she is eighteen and ending when she is fifty-six. Even then Life has one more surprise in store for her.”
Click here to read my book review of “Molly Lee.”
Colleen: Andrew, what are the advantages and disadvantages of writing sequels to classics? How did you decide what the adult Tom and Huck would be like?
Andrew: In this case there was no disadvantage. I picked two beloved characters—the advantage was the same—everyone loves Tom and Huck.
This will probably not be believed, but I felt Sam Clemens standing behind me as I wrote this yarn. He wanted to write a sequel to Huck and Tom and I think he started to do so. However, he never finished it. Perhaps he used me as his instrument to get it off his chest, so to speak. In answer to your question, I don’t know how I decided to make Huck and Tom gunslingers in the Old West. The book wrote itself. But if you repeat that, I’ll deny it. After all, I’m the genius here!
Colleen: What is the single biggest challenge of creating the settings in your novels?
Andrew: I always write my settings from places I’ve been and experienced firsthand. So, that does not present a challenge for me. I don’t know about other writers, but I start a novel knowing the first sentence and the last paragraph. Then all I have to do is come up with 100,000 words to fill the space in between. That is the easiest part. I let my characters take me where they want to go. I may have something in mind for them, but when we get there, they may take me in a whole different direction in which I am more than happy to follow.
Colleen: O.K. Andrew, who would you most like to sit next to on an airplane?
Andrew: I don’t fly anymore. But if I did, I’d prefer an empty seat. If I couldn’t get that, then I reckon Jesus would do. I’m sure he would have some good stories.
Colleen: Who would play you in the movie?
Andrew: Depending on the day, either Matthew McConaughey or Jabba the Hut.
Colleen: What is the one thing you can’t live without?
Colleen: What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever heard?
Andrew: It’s not the best advice I’ve ever heard . . . it’s the best I’ve ever given. READ, READ, READ, and then READ some more. Read every book you can get your hands on. Read Steinbeck . . . “The Grapes of Wrath” and “Tortilla Flat.”
“The afternoon came down as imperceptibly as age comes to a happy man. A little gold entered into the sunlight. The bay became bluer and dimpled with shore-wind ripples. Those lonely fishermen who believe that the fish bite at high tide left their rocks and their places were taken by others, who were convinced that the fish bite at low tide.”— John Steinbeck, Tortilla Flat
That is some damn good writing. And when you read stuff like that you can’t help but become a better writer.
Colleen: What are you working on right now?
Andrew: Making a big, tall drink that is 90% vodka.
Thank you for this fabulous interview, Andrew. It was great learning about your novels and getting to know you better. I really enjoyed knowing your inspiration came from Mark Twain himself.
If you love historical fiction based in the American old west, you will love Andrew’s books!