Keeping Faith


WESTERN:  Tom Henderson’s mother - a convicted murderer, whore, and drunk - is coming to live near him. He hates her, but feels guilty for it, so decides to set up her in a home while he works as an uneducated ranch hand. Lucille’s father has just died, and she and her mother now own the dressmaker’s shop. When Tom discovers he has an infant niece and decides to keep her, no one in town knows what to do.


Set at the same time Colorado became a state, this small town, only a day outside Denver, is a beautiful backdrop to a tale of a man trying to become a man, even when everyone else is against him - including his own mother. Tom can’t read or write, and knows little beyond ranch horses. Lucille is educated, an only child of the former mercantile owner. Through small, but many, historical inaccuracies with wording and idioms, the reader can expect head spinning reminiscent of a tennis match. Tom is the only character who does not flip-flop randomly in behavior, say one thing and do another, and change his mind for no apparent reason. There’s no dialogue, inner or outer, to justify many of the characters fluctuations. One sentence has anger, and the next there’s repentance, with nothing to grasp in between. The ending, with Tom’s mother, is not only historically wrong, given where she is and how women there were treated, but Tom and Lucille’s forgiveness has no basis. It jumps from horrible ending to Epilogue. Such a good storyline can be salvaged, and because Tom is a hero and wonderful man in any era, read it for him.


Julie York