Title: Wyoming Solace
Author: Alanna Coca
Genre: Western Romance
My rating (Max 10): 10
I love this book. It is the story of a battered and abused woman, married to a monster, who engineers an escape from her life of horrors.
Mary Elise Stanton, along with her butler and lifelong friend, Daniel Keane, takes the train west from Virginia to Wyoming. Along the way, she drops her first name and married surname and used her middle and maiden name to reinvent herself as Elise Vickerson.
At first, masquerading as a married couple, Elise and Daniel moved into Elise's recently deceased father's ranch the V-Bar. It was their intention to fix up the ranch, sell it and then have Daniel rejoin his real wife back east while Elise advanced west to start a new life alone.
Elise's plans ran into the tough-as-nails neighboring rancher, Cody Campbell who she knew as a young child before her family moved east from the ranch to Virginia for her mother's health when the then Mary was twelve. Cody insisted that his father, Alan, had purchased the V-Bar from Elise's father, Edward, making her plans impossible. Elise, however, didn't believe Cody's ownership assertion and thus the story-long conflict.
The story covers Elise's life during the next several months: her never-ending fear that her husband would find her, her repairs on the V-Bar along with Daniel and the enigmatic handyman, Joe; and the growing love between her and her neighbor, Cody.
The narrative moves quickly, keeping the reader's interest by not dwelling on any event too long, by aptly describing people and places without giving too much detail, and by having a small cast of interesting primary and secondary characters.
This is Ms. Coca's first published book and it was perfect. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys western romances, strong heroines, and tough but loving cowboys.