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.


Email from Dusty Richards - master storyteller:

Now I read it all.  That deal of yours  was helluva lot of work.

‍ I guess at Oghma Press since we are out two years on publication. Might not need to be listed. They didn’t do too bad. They published a book my agent could not sell in New York and after some time returned to me.

It won the Spur.  “The Mustang and the Lady" They have made a movie adaptation “Painted Woman”  Shot in Oklahoma and I saw the premier two weeks ago. Pretty damn good western movie.  So small publishers can sell books and get things going.

Fort Laramie did the same thing to me it did to you. Maybe the rein-actors were part of it, but it had so much history. I stood on the windswept parade field and thought about the Porutgee who rode down through the snow on Christmas eve to report the Fetterman massacre. 

(I thought) How the friendly Indians staying by the fort quietly disappeared days before the they ever learned Custer had been killed.

(I thought) How many faces of settlers showed up there going to California—some never made it.  It is a very sobering site in our history and not that well known. 

Fort Laramie... actually was in Kansas to start. Kansas line went to the top of the Rockies min early stages and I had an editor correct it in a rush for gold short story I  wrote—but it really was in Kansas then. The bakery was another thing I remember. And the adobe wall saloon I felt it all walking around there on several different trips—it is like wine it can intoxicate you. But just a glass or two is enough to make you want to come back for more

Great Job  you  did here (on the review).  I still swap full page ad for any western fiction or history article in Saddlebagdispatches.  All you need to find our  free quarterly E magazine.

Dusty Richards

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