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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Review: Martha

by Alice Blue

A destitute widow, Martha Conradson seeks refuge with niece Tessa Alderman in Springton, Nebraska. Creditors threaten her. Others want money she doesn't know she has.

Judge George Willton comes to the rescue, as well as Sheriff Bill Coble.

Arrested by Sheriff Coble, fifteen year old Jed Mulder is befriended by the judge. Jed tells Martha very surprising things she didn't know.

Can Martha ever truly have a settled and satisfying life?

This historic, full-length mystery is set in ninetenth-century St. Louis.

From the start this story offers rich, wonderfully detailed descriptions, like the yeasty smell of bread baking, the tightness of new shoes, the dampness and chill of drafts. It is always positive to read a tale that features a wonderful, admirable and strong woman character determined to make the best of her circumstances. Life and everyday concerns fill our Martha's mind, and these same concerns reach across the borders of a mere century, and readers will find they can identify with this resiliant main character.

Stagecoaches, boarding houses, ranch hands and high-button shoes fill this tale, with all the details of a classic western and more. Puzzling out the mystery is a big part of this read. Figuring out the impact of Martha's passed adds a level of complexity and intrigue, and as events unfold, questions only increase. This is an enjoyable read, with especially well-done settings.

Review by Snapdragon