Diamond in the Sky
Thadeus McElwain came to Leadville, Colorado, shortly after the Silver Panic of 1893. All he wanted was to leave behind a scarred past and start anew with a small store in a town that was once prosperous and flourishing. Leadville is gradually losing most of its middle-class residents and seems to be going bust. But little does Thad know how his life is about to change with the arrival of his brother, Zeb, and two new arrivals, Lettie and Larry. Noah Ralston is as besotted with Lettie as Thad is, and has more money to influence her affection. Zeb is out to destroy Thad because of a past accident in which he lost the use of one arm. Meanwhile, the town has plans to revive its failing economy by building a spectacular Ice Palace that will draw people to a new Winter Carnival.
It’s very clear who the supportive and opposing characters are, but soon the plot thickens into a fire, murder, immediate arrest, false confession, and unexpected conclusion. Whatever you do, don’t read the jacket blurb (it’s a spoiler)! This is a nicely plotted story with thinly defined characters, and more of a crime/romance than a historical novel. As a side note, there really was a famous Ice Palace in Colorado, which came to represent wealth and opportunities that rescued many people from a financial crash similar to the one that hit the entire nation thirty years later. The Ice Palace herein meets quite a different fate!