I had the pleasure of reading Letters and Lies, and I must say I enjoyed it quite a bit! I loved all the descriptions, details, and themes throughout the book. Louise’s heartache bled onto the pages, an intense hurt that I could feel as a reader.
When our heroine boards a train headed west where her ex-fiancé lives, she plans to force open the door that had closed to her after being jilted by the man. Only, when she meets his friend, Everett, on the train, her life begins to spiral out of control as she digs herself deeper into a hole with each lie she tells. What had begun as an innocent alias turned into something far more dangerous such as fraud and possibly even an accomplice in murder.
I absolutely loved the comparison of words to bullets throughout the story. Although Louise doesn’t need to shoot a gun, she has plenty of ammo on the tip of her tongue.
One of my favorite relationships in the story was the platonic one between Louise and Cook. Cook’s bark was as bad as his bite, but Louise never backed down, and although it took time (a lot of it), they came to eventually respect one another. The interactions between Louise and Cook show just how fearless she is and how far she is willing to go to make a good change in someone else’s life, or in this case, lots of people’s lives. Although her motive behind helping Lizzy with her restaurant had been selfish at first, it quickly turned into a desire to do good.
This book held me on the edge of my seat as I wondered what would happen next, what the reactions would be when people learned of her lies, and especially the mystery between her, Everett, Jim, and six powerful, heart-wrenching words: Don’t come. I can’t marry you.
My rating: 5 Stars
Bonus: Favorite Quote
(Oh, I had so many favorite quotes! But my most favorite ones would give too much away. Here’s one I really liked.)
“That’s better. And I have soft maroon aprons for each of us.” I went to a package I’d kept to the side and drew out sensible but elegant aprons for us three women, a long and thin one for Les, and a snug one Cook couldn’t possibly conceal a pistol under.
“Pink?” Cook roared.
“Soft maroon. Now put this on.” I handed his to him. “And cinch it tight.”
Colleen, thanks so much for joining me on my blog today! Tell us more about your new release, Letters and Lies.
“Letters and Lies” is an abrupt about-face for me, most of my books serious with a distinct moral value at stake, whereas this one is light and fun. Sometimes you just need to smile, and I believe I accomplished that through the determination of my heroine, Louise Archer, who refuses to accept that the open door to marriage she has always waited for, has closed. In a flurry of humiliation that she tries to cover with a little lie or two, she boards a train west to find the homesteader who jilted her, and wedge that door back open again.
Louise is a wonderful character, probably worthy of a sequel or a series, but she is also surrounded by a colorful cast of others who bring out the best and worst in her. I don’t know if I could single out my favorite scene, but imagine a desperate young woman on a mission to find and secure her better half, when all along it is her better self she needs to discover. Like Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz” except laughable in between the touching moments.
I’m excited about this book because, in my and my editors’ opinions, it came out extremely well. Enough so, that I might apply my dry sense of humor to some other character in the future.
The release date for “Letters and Lies” is May 25, 2020, and I’m sending it out into the world with high hopes.
Louise Archer boards a westbound train in St. Louis to find the Kansas homesteader who wooed and proposed to her by correspondence, then jilted her by telegram – Don’t come, I can’t marry you. Giving a false name to hide her humiliation, her lie backfires when a marshal interferes and offers her his seat.
Marshal Everett McCloud intends to verify the woman coming to marry his homesteading friend is suitable. At the St. Louis train station, his plan detours when he offers his seat to a captivating woman whose name thankfully isn’t Louise Archer.
Everett’s plans thwart hers, until he begins to resemble the man she came west to find, and she the woman meant to marry his friend.
“He wrote and changed your plans? Why didn’t you tell me? You know I love hearing his letters.”
Everyone loved hearing his letters. Or at least they’d pretended to. I glanced at my friends, especially the one who’d first suggested I correspond with her husband’s homesteading friend in Kansas who was ready to look for a wife. She dabbed at her eyes with a handkerchief while she flicked the fingers of her other hand in a weak wave. I dredged my soul in search of a smile. The man she’d introduced me to truly had penned everything I’d ever wanted in a husband, months of letters which convinced Mama Jim was my open door. Letters I’d foolishly carted from family to friend to blather every word like a desperate spinster. Drat.
“He didn’t send his change of plans in a letter, Mama. He sent them in a telegram.” Don’t come, I can’t marry you. The only words I never shared.
“Well I imagine your Jim has a surprise for you and didn’t have time to send a letter before you left for Crooked Creek. How thoughtful to wire you instead.”
Thoughtful…I felt poisoned and Mama would too if she ever found out Jim had shut my open door. Which she wouldn’t, since as soon as I got out there and found him, I’d wedge it back open again.
About the Author
Born and raised in the Midwest, Colleen studied and worked in science, using that career to travel and explore other parts of the country. An avid fan of literature, both reading and writing, she loves tales involving moral dilemmas and the choices people come up against. A lover of the outdoors as well as a comfy living room, Colleen is always searching inside and out for the next good story.