I was offered a copy of this book in audio format from the author in exchange for an honest review.
1863. Decided to escape a life serving a family, Millie Virginia answers a wife-wanted ad and leaves New Orleans in a very dangerous trip towards the mining town of Idaho Springs, Colorado territory, to meet her future husband, somebody she does not know apart from a couple of letters and a picture. After all her expectations, upon her arrival she finds out that her fiancé was found dead at his mine one week before, and against all common sense, she decides to stay at his house and accept the mine that he has left her before he died. Soon after, Millie starts receiving threats to her life and then suddenly one day, Dom, her fiancé’s brother appears at her cabin, not knowing about his brother’s death. Dom will turn Millie’s life upside down and together they will discover that perhaps Millie’s fiancé’s death was not just a terrible accident.
This was a book that I really enjoy from beginning to end. The characters got me completely hooked. Millie was naive, but also ver strong willed, and with a temper. I loved the way she started to know her fiancé, by the things he left behind at his cabin, his clothes, his books and the special stove he bought for her. I also loved the way Dom made her evolve and find a world that she did not imagine before. Mary’s character was also endearing, but the rest of characters were flat, and just a background for the main story.
I usually shy away from love stories. It is not that I am not a romantic person, but I dislike shallow romances just for the sake of it. This was different. The characters were deep and they evolved with the story in a way that it almost felt natural, and even though romances are the parts I tend to dislike in a book, I really enjoyed this one. Millie and Dom felt real people to me, with real motivations and reactions. I will miss them now that I have finished the book.
Another important character in this book was Buttercup, the fainting goat Sarah gave to Millie during her trip. After a while she became an important part of Millie, and I found her adorable in a way that only pets can be. Buttercup was the first reason for Millie to evolve, this is why I think she was an important character inside the story.
It is quite clear that there was a lot of research done to write this book, and I learned that Bell is a Colorado native who spent much time hiking through ghost towns and learning old history. This is what gave depth to the book, Bell really knows what she is talking about.
The narrations was beautifully done. Nancy Wu did not only give a distinctive voice to all the characters, but she delivered a very special interpretation of Millie. I had to laugh hard at the times she repeated again and again about her auburn hair with red streaks. I think Wu really caught the exact tone for this novel and this character, and the result was spot on.
Hilarious, endearing and intriguing, this book has everything for everybody to enjoy it. It made me laugh, it made me cry, and I am sure it will stay with me for a very long time.