Well-known for her romantic suspense, author Sharon Sala's latest is a creative venture into the Kansas of the Old West. Focusing on the lives of various, colorful characters, Sala tells a wacky tale of love and redemption.

Holding onto memories of her past, 27-year-old Leticia Murphy, hardened saloon girl, listens to the call of the whippoorwill as it awaits the answer of its mate. With the impending arrival of Reverend Randall Howe to Lizard Flats to preside over the nuptials of widow Sophie Hollis and banker Alfonso Worthy, Letty hopes a better life is on her horizon. Young Baby Boy Jessup's greatest wish, meanwhile, is for the preacher to baptize him with a newly minted name. Half-breed Joe Redhawk and Irish immigrant Caitlin O'Shea wish to seal their union. And Charity Doone is on a mission to locate Reverend Howe after he seduced and abandoned her.

Sala brings these and other enigmatic characters to life, in scenes of laughter and tears and moments of bawdy humor. Delving into the backgrounds of very different people, she explores the ups and downs of their lives. From the lifelong friendship of old trappers to the reformation of the town prostitute, the Kansas prairie comes alive.

But the arrival of the long-awaited minister comes with its own twist of fate, and Letty must employ Eulis, the town drunk, to aid her in her latest endeavor. With its masterfully crafted players, Sala pens a surprising read that will imbue a lasting sense of hopefulness in readers. (Mar., 288 pp., $14.95)

Reviewed by: 
Sheri Melnick