Shea Waterston is somewhat unusual for her time. She is a widow who travels around the West working as a photographer in the 1870’s with her companion, Mr Owen Brandt. When she is not taking portraits and photos of the Wild West to satisfy the folks back east, she is spending her time trying to track down her son who she gave up several years ago. He was sent West on an orphan train, where young children were sent from the crowded Eastern cities out to the west where families could adopt them.
When we first meet Shea she is in Denver, attempting to take a photograph of a hanging that is just about to occur. With this photo, she should have enough money to continue to the search for her son. Unfortunately Judge Cameron Gallimore is not happy about this and refuses to allow Shea to do this. When she insists, he confiscates her camera and throws her in jail until the hanging is over. Whilst when he is performing his duties as a judge, Cameron is called upon to pass the death sentence for some of the crimes that are committed, he does not like this part of his job at all.
Shea leaves Denver, and thinks that is all there is to it, until on her way back from photographing a mining camp, she comes across a group of men her about to lynch the judge and she saves him, but gets shot in the process. Of course, Cameron feels compelled to look after her and so takes her to his home that he shares with his sister Lily, who was badly burned during the war and doesn’t leave the house because she is sensitive to how people might react to her scars, and his son Randall.
Eventually Shea decides to winter in Denver and before too long, Shea and Cameron and becoming more and more enamored with each other. Shea also becomes attached to a young boy, Ty, whose father is drifting to the wrong side of the law.
Elizabeth Grayson is the author of month in my Historical Romance Chat group, and is a new to me author. Also pretty new to me is the Western Historical sub genre. The best thing about this book is that I learnt something new! I had never heard of the orphan trains.
As far as the romance goes, the gradual build up to the realization of love and also of a physical relationship was very nicely done. Cameron was a man with demons left over from the Civil War and the period of the book which dealt with how his sister, in particular, found out what he really got up to at the end of the war was very well written. The subplot with Lily’s growing confidence was also very well done. On the downside...there were so many coincidences in this book! Coincidentally, it was one or two too many for my liking!
Overall this was a book that I enjoyed, although it didn’t really grab me! One day I will read more from this author…..one day!