This is a good western set in 1894 Texas. It is the second novel in the Hanger's Horsemen series but reads well on its own. (You can see my review of the first novel, At Love's Command, here.)
The plot centers around Mark and Jonah, two of the four Hanger's Horsemen, ex-cavalry men who seek justice and defend the innocent. They come across a situation that introduces them to a wrong that needs righting. Several orphan boys known to ride the rails have gone missing. Mark and Jonah seek to find the boys and deliver culprits to justice.
While there is lots of action, suspense and a good dose of romance, I liked the plot mostly because of the boys. Witemeyer has provided readers with adventurous and courageous boys. They turn out to be brave sidekicks to the adults. And among the adults we find romance in the midst of danger. Mark reconnects with Kate, a woman he knew back east, one he had once asked to marry him. And Jonah, well, he finds a feisty woman in Eliza. Those two women run a foundling home, taking in orphaned or abandoned children. There are some good lessons in this novel about belonging and being loved by God as well as overcoming fear.
There are several interesting themes explored in this novel. One is racism. Several of the characters, like Jonah, Eliza and some of the boys, are Black. While the Civil War is long over, there are still serious issues around race. When Kate was back east seeking funds for the home, she was faced with churches who would support her if she only accepted children the same race as the church people, for example.
This is a good novel for readers who like westerns with valiant heroes, lots of action and suspense, some romance, a good faith message, and engaging characters, both adult and young.
My rating: 4/5 stars.
Karen Witemeyer was voted #1 Reader's Favorite Christian Romance Author of 2019 by Family Fiction Magazine. She offers warmhearted historical romance with humor, feisty heroines, and swoon worthy Texas heroes. She lives in Abilene, Texas with her husband and three children. Find out more at www.karenwitemeyer.com. Photo courtesy of Amanda Carpenter.
Bethany House Publishers, 384 pages.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.
(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)