The Lady’s Mine

Written by Francine Rivers
Review by Fiona Alison

The Sierra Nevada mining town of Calvada doesn’t quite know what to make of Kathryn Walsh as she steps off the stagecoach in 1875. A brief encounter with handsome saloon keeper, Matthias Beck, as he introduces an unwanted guest to the wet part of a horse trough, arouses uninvited feelings in Kathryn, as she admonishes his version of justice. Love isn’t what she came for, however, and there’s no going back to Boston (her stepfather made that abundantly clear), so she takes possession of the meagre belongings left to her in her deceased uncle, City (C.T.) Walsh’s will: a two-room shack, a printing press, and a mine claim. Despite coming from money, she must support herself now, so she convinces her uncle’s young apprentice to help relaunch City’s newspaper, the Voice, against strenuous objections from Matthias. Kathryn’s forthright honesty on the page makes her a target for violence, and her refusal of an offer of marriage from a wealthy mine owner, Matthias’s business and political rival, aggravates the ill feeling.

The author has thoroughly captured the feel, taste and smell of the Old West in this dialogue-driven story, such that I felt immersed in the late 1800s. Just the right amount of sexual tension sizzles between the feisty Kathryn and the charismatic Matthias to create an intoxicating romance, as well as a mystery. When Kathryn learns that City refused to sell his mine claim and that he was murdered, she digs deeper, endangering herself and pulling Matthias’s protective presence closer than ever. The novel sheds light on the enterprising men and women who built the foundations of the American West after the mines were tapped out. Highly romantic and full of the author’s joie-de-vivre in the writing of it.