At Love’s Command (Hanger’s Horsemen)

Written by Karen Witemeyer
Review by Ray Thompson

Sickened by their participation in the massacre of the Lakota at Wounded Knee in 1890, Captain Matthew Hanger and his three devoted friends retire from the US Cavalry in order to defend the innocent and preserve justice. When one of them stops a bullet, they bring him to the local doctor, but he turns out to be a she: Dr. Jo, not Joe. Not only does she prove her skill, however, but she and Matt share an instant attraction. Learning that her brother is being held for ransom, she hires the Horsemen to rescue him, and attraction grows into love.

There is plenty of action, though the Horsemen are careful to spare lives whenever possible, and insights into the challenges confronting a woman practicing medicine in 1890s Texas, but the main focus is upon the struggle of Matt and Jo to trust in God to determine their fate, rather than themselves. As their situation grows more desperate, Biblical quotations become more frequent and the tone more didactic.

Those looking for idealized heroes vanquishing black-hearted villains and a comforting religious message that redemption is available, even amidst the bleakest adversity, will be gratified.