My rating: 4 of 5 stars
We're past the romance-novel aspect of the first book and straight into classic western territory as the story of Paloma and Marco Mondragon continues. They're now a settled couple with two small children and one on the way, but the land around them continues to remain unsettled as rumors surface of new Comanche attacks, and strangers who may represent powers unfriendly to the Spanish government.
I've been enjoying Ms. Kelly's Spanish Brand series very much, not only because she tells a great story, but because as a resident of La Florida I'm all too aware that U.S. history overlooks the contribution of Spanish settlers throughout what's now the southern U.S. Florida, Louisiana, Texas and points west all had European settlers long before the Pilgrims set foot in New England, but their history is seldom told.
The stakes are still high for Paloma and Marco living in their fortress-like home on the New Mexican frontier, but the arrival of an unexpected guest brings the past alive for them. The government in Madrid may think it's in charge, but Marco knows it's men like him who will have to negotiate the new world of relations with the Indians, French, British, and now American interlopers. Fortunately he has the wise and loving counsel of Paloma, who brings her own skills at relationship building.
This is a thoughtful tale of good people trying to do the right thing. Sometimes it's nice to take a break from swashbuckling tales of pirates and privateers, and read about ordinary people who are extraordinary in their own way.
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