Under Starry Skies by Judy Ann Davis

Cover_UnderStarrySkies

Under Starry Skies by Judy Ann Davis
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Historical (Early American)
Length: Full (306 pgs)
Heat: Sensual
Rated: 4 stars
Review by Poppy

Hired as the town’s school teacher, Maria O’Donnell and her sister Abigail arrive in the Colorado Territory in 1875, only to find the uncle they were to stay with has been murdered.

Rancher Tye Ashmore is content with life until he meets quiet and beautiful Maria. He falls in love at first sight, but her reluctance to jeopardize her teaching position by accepting his marriage proposal only makes him more determined to make her part of his life.

When their lives are threatened by gunshots and a gunnysack of dangerous wildlife, Tye believes he is the target of an unknown enemy. Not until Maria receives written threats urging her to leave does she realize she is the target instead of the handsome rancher.

With the help of Tye, Abigail, and a wily Indian called Two Bears, Maria works to uncover her uncle’s killer and put aside her fears. But will she discover happiness and true love under Colorado’s starry skies?

A fun trip back in time to post-Civil War era America!

Abigail and Maria O’Donnell have hit on some hard times. Their father’s death left them in great debt and have few options other than to head to Colorado to live with an uncle. All well and good until they discovered he was murdered.

I have to be honest and say I didn’t read the blurb to this story before I picked it up, and I honestly believed the heroine was Abigail. The first few chapters are from her point of view and from Tye’s and Maria is barely a blip on the radar (and it was a rather unfavorable blip for me … she came across as weak and whiny). Imagine my surprise when the story veered off from my expectations, and Maria was our heroine! Thankfully, as time passes, Maria grows a spine and by the end of the book is a woman to be admired.

There is a secondary story with Abigail and a potential beau, and I suspect she will be the lead in the next story of this series. Speaking of which, this is apparently the second book in a series, but I had no problem at all sorting things out. Honestly, had I not checked (and had Abigail’s story not been so open-ended), I might not have realized it was part of a series at all, so fear not if you worry about reading it on its own.

The mystery in this story is fairly weak, so if you’re a mystery buff this might not be the best choice. There was never any real doubt as to who killed Uncle Henry, so it’s mostly about trying to prove it and understand why it happened.

I enjoyed the secondary characters, especially Two Bears and Millie, and I also appreciated how relatively independent so many women in this story were (which made it harder for me to believe Maria was that worried about losing her job if she married Tye). Honestly, the conflicts here weren’t that strong, but my fondness for the characters and the writer’s skill at writing kept me turning pages. Yes, the author has remarkable talent with her words. Plot blips aside, her talent for characterization, description, etc., kept me well engaged.

I might not have picked up Under Starry Skies on my own, but I really enjoyed it. More, I really liked Abigail and do hope the author selects her as the heroine for the next book. I’d truly like to see how things turn out for her!

Comments

  1. Thank you for hosting

  2. I really love westerns, and this review was really great,, and so I am going to have to read this series.

  3. Welcome everyone! A BIG thank you to a “Long and Short Reviews” for hosting UNDER STARRY SKIES, my newest historical, romantic suspense set in the Colorado Territory in 1875. If you like mystery with a touch of western flavor, you’ll enjoy UNDER STARRY SKIES which is a stand-alone novel to my very first book, RED FOX WOMAN. I wish everyone a great day ahead!

  4. I love myself a good mystery, and it looks like “Under Starry Skies” shall provide me with a great read! ;D

  5. Interesting story

  6. Amanda Sakovitz says:

    i liked the blurb

  7. Thomas Murphy says:

    I liked reading about the book.

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