Friday, June 16, 2017

Review: Carla Kelly’s THE DOUBLE CROSS – Charming Western Historical Love Story

Set in 1780 in the Spanish colony of New Mexico and Texas, this is the story of Paloma Vega, orphaned and forced to live on her uncle’s charity, which is grudgingly given (her uncle treats her like a servant, nearly starving her). At 18, she meets 31-year-old Marco Mondragón, a widower and rancher, who is also a brand inspector. Marco lives on the edge of Comanchería, the domain of the Comanches.

Each autumn, Marco takes cattle, wool and his records of livestock transactions to the governor in Santa Fe. After his wife died eight years ago, her little dog kept him company, but the dog has died, so this year, he is looking for a new dog to keep his feet warm. When he stops at the hacienda of his friend’s future father-in-law, Marco finds a yellow dog he likes. And he meets Paloma.

This is a well-told story of loss and a second chance at love as Marco acquires not only a dog, but also—very quickly—a wife. Both Marco and Paloma are near perfect people, honorable, courageous, caring and clever. He sweeps her away from her lonely cruel existence and she fills the void left by his wife. Together, they make a home in his hacienda. I did like their characters, but who wouldn’t?

Perhaps the most compelling relationship in the story is that of Paloma and the Comanche she saves, Toshua, particularly since Comanches slaughtered her family.

Kelly provides a rich array of characters and an excellent portrayal of life in the Spanish colony of New Mexico where a man’s brands were very important. It is obvious she has done considerable research and knows her subject well.

This is an unusual romance as there is no conflict, no angst, no misunderstanding and no black moment. (The “double cross” is a reference to Marco’s brand.) They frequently make love but we see little of that. Still, historical fans will enjoy it, especially if you like historical authenticity, as I do. At the end, the story had an unfinished feel to me with a few loose ends, but then I discovered this is the first in the series in which Marco and Paloma’s story continues. So, here’s the list:

The Spanish Brand series:

The Double Cross
Marco and the Devil's Bargain
Paloma and the Horse Traders
The Star in the Meadow

No comments:

Post a Comment