Coming from California*
More Romance and Mystery in Old West Nevada
Daisy is a half Chinese, half Caucasian young woman from San Francisco who is taking a job as a school teacher in Nevada. Because of her biracial status, she had had a hard time finding a job in the city. She didn’t disclose her racial status or her young age when she applied for the job, so she was fearful that they might send her packing back to California. While she runs across some with prejudice, she is soon approved to be the teacher by the town council. Just moments after she arrives in town, she looks out the window from her boarding house, and a handsome cowboy shouts up a compliment. Daisy is a little insulted to be spoken to in such a way, but she soon comes to realize how decent and honorable Luke really is.
The book is mostly about this lovely and very sweet romance between Daisy and Luke. To add interest, there is another man who is interested in her as well who is not as much of an upstanding character as Luke. There’s also a mystery around who murdered an assayer in Reno. Luke also has his own story arc about what he may do as a profession and legacies given or left for him.
I read the first book in the series and enjoyed it, in part because I grew up in California and we often went to Nevada for vacations. I’ve been to Reno, Tahoe, and Virginia City, so it is fun to read a story that harkens back to the old days in those towns. I like how the author introduced a small recurring about prejudice. From what I understand, it was certainly a real issue for people who were Chinese or of Chinese descent back in the old west. While it wasn’t a huge overarching theme, it did come up more than once, especially in the beginning and surprisingly at the end. To have this theme woven in in such a way is a gentle reminder for us to look at our own prejudice, the way we treat people whom we perceive as foreign, and the laws that those in power may adopt to codify misunderstanding and hatred. Now, just because I’ve gotten all heavy right here, don’t think that the author played this with a heavy hand because she doesn’t. It is actually well integrated and feels very contextual for the characters, the plot, and the times.
If you are a fan of Mark Twain, you will appreciate the author’s tip of the hat to him in the person of the town’s newspaperman. I won’t spoil it for you, but it did make me chuckle to see how the author added this little Easter egg.
The book did have a few strange little issues with grammar, punctuation, and usage, including one rather bizarrely punctuated and broken-up paragraph of dialogue that jarred me a little bit.
However, I enjoyed what is truly a sweet, gentle, slow-burn romance. The first parts of the book might feel too slow to you if you’re used to fast-paced writing, but I enjoyed the characters so much that I didn’t mind the slow pace or the slow burn. Since I have read the first book, I appreciated seeing some of the characters that I knew from the first book again. That’s one of the beauties of a well-done series. I loved Miz May from the last book, and I learned a lot more about her here. They are definitely some new characters as well, and I enjoyed that there were actually two romances in this book that came to fruition. I have become quite enchanted with the good people of this town, so I am looking forward to the next installment of the series.