Prairie Madness – Conspiracy at Fort Union
Author: Edwina Romero
Publisher: Random Horse Press
Cost: Paperback $18.81, Kindle e-book, $3.99
Available at: Amazon
If you like historical novels, you will thoroughly enjoy Prairie Madness – Conspiracy at Fort Union, by Edwina Romero. If you like a plain old good read, you are in for a treat.
Romero has blended history and mystery to write an intriguing puzzle surrounding the death of personable Sean Flannery, a first sergeant at Fort Union in the late 1800s. The story involves the complex social structure of fort life with its military personnel, civilian workers, and privately-owned trader’s store. The ever-present winds sigh and bluster across the barren landscape, lending a haunting backdrop to this story of two women and the men in their lives.
Forget stereotypes, with washer women being the low rung on the social ladder, and think instead of the hardy women who ended up at the edges of the wild west. Their resilience is the true story behind this window on the past.
When army laundress Mary Margaret O’Keenan learns Sean is dead, she is convinced from the get-go that it was no accident. Who took the life of the man she had come to love? Mary Margaret intends to find out, ready to confront authority and bring to light clues she comes upon in her determined investigation.
Despite threats and pushback from military officials, she forges ahead with the unlikely but welcome help of Olivia Foote, wife of the post’s contract trader, a man whose motives appear to be less than honorable.
Mary Margaret and Olivia form a bond of trust and friendship that helps them in their pursuit of truth. The historical facts and setting take the reader back to an era when changes were underway for forts across the country. Howling winds batter at adobe walls and trickle through the mind, perhaps scouring away sober judgment and replacing it with the bare bones of greed and self-interest.
Place and character define a good story. In Prairie Madness, these elements are woven together beautifully. The tale moves apace revealing a conspiracy that reaches right into the office of the fort’s commanding officer and beyond.
Mary Margaret has good instincts, but deciding whom to trust isn’t easy. All she knows for sure is that the facts of Sean Flannery’s death must be revealed and the culprit brought to justice.
Paper Trail in Las Vegas, NM, will host a book signing on Saturday, March 16, at 1 p.m., featuring Romero and Prairie Madness – Conspiracy at Fort Union. The book is also available online in paperback and Kindle format.