Letter and Lies

Colleen L.

“Don’t come, I can’t marry you.” Louise Archer is convinced that this simple sentence in a telegram from her love-letter fiancé needs clarity, and she is determined to find out in person. A train ride to Dodge City is interrupted by the lies she tells a marshal, as Louise tries to cover the true reasons for her trip. She finds herself in Larned, Kansas, with a new name and identity — recently widowed Mrs. Penelope Strong. Newfound friends by way of Louise’s need to keep up her ruse, a scoundrel of a banker with his own fiancé, and the marshal who keeps checking up on Louise, make it hard for Louise to keep up with all of her lies. One of them leads to another, and before Louise can board the next train to Dodge City, she finds herself with a new purpose to life, other than getting married. 

"Letters and Lies” is an enduring story with clever redirections of best-laid plans. Readers will be intrigued to see how Louise uses the thoughts in the letters to guide her with her new friends. The plot is driven by Louise’s desire to catch the next train out of Larned, which can bring out funny and heart-pounding scenes. However, Louise’s obsessive indecisions cause the plot to become a bit sluggish. Lengthy narratives and a slight info dump at times may cause readers to become frustrated. Reeling the reader back in are the love stories woven within Louise’s new friendships as she continues to seek the truth to her life, willing it to be in the words of the love letters. 

Moira Wolf