The Pretenders


Ivy and Shane meet as homeless orphan children living in the squalid slums of Chicago in the 1880s. Ivy is eight and Shane is 10 when they form their unique bond of friendship. After the Great Fire of Chicago, they head west to Colorado where they scam their way through the small towns and occasionally Denver, but Ivy dreams of buying a ranch and settling down with Shane. For a long time, childhood trauma keeps Shane from acting on his passionate feelings for Ivy, which drives her crazy, since she’s had those feelings for a very long time. Finally, when everything seems to be falling into place for Ivy and Shane, the law catches up with them. Will they be able to go straight and live happily ever after on their dream ranch, or will the fate’s dash their hopes?

Brilliant! A truly splendid book told entirely from Ivy’s point of view! Ms. Ziegler has crafted a powerful story with characters that come to life with such realism, readers will feel as though Ivy and Shane could walk right off the page at any moment. In a prodigious feat, “The Pretenders” brings the turn of the century west to vivid life without a single B-movie western cliché to detract from the brilliant prose. Gut-wrenching emotions, exciting action, lip-biting suspense and a truly epic feel suffuse Ms. Ziegler’s work. Its only slight flaw is its occasional over-exuberance of historical detail that burdens the plot in places. Minor flaws aside, there is no doubt every reader will fall in love with Ivy and Shane and root for them to find the life they so richly deserve.

Marc Joseph