While this is a sweet romance, centered on two characters who certainly need each other, the concept of a wizard in New Mexico Territory was a stretch for this reader. The humor and interaction between Joy and Elijah indicates that true love is there if you look beyond the surface. Fun reading with introspection.

Winding up in Rio Honcho is not what nurse Joy Hardesty planned when she agreed to accompany Rev. Thrash's entourage to bring religion to the Indians.

But that is just what wizard Alexander Mac McMurdo plans. He knows that Elijah Perry will be wounded in a gunfight and Joy will nurse him back to health.

Elijah is looking for something and Joy can give him what he needs. When Elijah left home to fight in the Civil War he never returned, and instead he wandered the country gambling.

A prim prune-faced spinster and a free wheeling gambling man seem like an unlikely combination, but the more they are together the more each changes for the better. Their love will become the building block for the town.

(Feb., 360 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Evelyn Feiner