Paloma and the Horse Traders

Written by Carla Kelly
Review by John Kachuba

This novel is Book 3 of The Spanish Brand, a new historical romance series by award-winning author Carla Kelly. Set in the 18th century in what is today New Mexico, the novel is much more than a romance. It is, in fact, a rousing and exciting Western that will appeal to all readers.

The sun is setting on the Spanish empire in the New World, and cattle brand inspector Marco Mondragon worries about the future of the ranch he operates with his fiery and capable wife, Paloma. An immediate threat is the fierce Comanches. Although a peace exists between them and the Spanish colonists, a renegade named Great Owl threatens to destroy that fragile peace and plunge the whole colony into war.

The Comanches are not the only threat to Marco and Paloma’s security, however. Realizing how Spain is faltering in the New World, other powers—the French, British, and Americans—are seeking to find opportunities to make claims of their own on the land. Complicating matters at the ranch is the arrival of a mysterious, taciturn man and a slave girl Marco purchased from the Comanches.

Kelly knows her subject matter; her historical research is impeccable. But her research never gets in the way of her spinning a good yarn. This is a great read, and it is highly recommended.