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The Horse Soldier

Review by Carolyn Leonard

I LOVED the Horse Soldier by Merline Lovelace – and that is quite an endorsement since I don’t usually like romance novels! I picked this book because of its setting in Fort Laramie.  As an amateur historian I had visited the restored fort a few years ago, and immediately felt as if I had been there before.  Since then, I  read everything I could find about the old fort.  

Here’s the setting: June 1867
Fort Laramie, Dakota Territory
Known as Absaraka by the Sioux
Called Wyoming by the soldiers posted there.

Here are the main characters in this character-driven plot: 
Julia Rubichard and her daughter Suzanne
Major Andrew Garrett
Phil Bonneaux

Julia at age 16 was swept off her feet in New Orleans and married Garrett without her guardian’s consent. Her uncle exposed Garrett as a Union Spy and shot him.  Believing Garrett was dead, Julia allowed her uncle to ship her off to another state where she met Bonneaux and married him. 

When Bonneaux abandons Julia and Suzanne, he leaves them penniless with a promise to make money in the gold fields of Montana Territory. After not hearing from him for two years, Julia decides to take a long and dangerous journey to the Wyoming territory. But when she is left at Fort Laramie she comes face to face with Major Andrew Garrett – who believes she is still married to him. The man she thought was dead six years ago.

Even tho the author said Julia and Andrew existed only on the pages in her book, she created them as three-dimensional complex characters and an outstanding plot that keeps a reader on their toes, turning pages – unable to stop. The love scenes were quite educational. I certainly recommend this book.