Written by Sharon Sala
Review by Mary K. Bird-Guilliams

Whippoorwill was a Top Pick in the Romantic Times BookClub March 2003 issue in the historical romance section, listed as humorous. This designation is effected by the juxtaposition of melodrama and crude language and gags, in the manner of Blazing Saddles and Cat Ballou. A drunk impersonating a preacher baptizes by chanting One for Money, Two for the Show as he dunks the Born-Again in the horse trough, the real preacher having expired in the act with the soiled dove who is the lead character. The prostitute Letty, who listens for the whippoorwill’s mate to return its call (from which is derived the title) is only one of several sets of characters who are loosely connected by their eventual need for a man of the cloth. Grades on historical accuracy are low, for sagebrush, miners, canyons, Cheyenne, and bears are not 1880s Kansas natives, nor would a town in Kansas be likely called Lizard Flats. The book seems to be set in the mythical west. A few characters stand out as more than cartoons–the myopic Indian, the tough rancher woman, the family who decides they need a better name than Baby Boy for their 8 year old son–but the active scene changes swiftly, and no one storyline is dwelt on long. The book concludes with Letty deciding to pass on her legacy of listening for the whippoorwill, intending an optimistic ending, but this reader simply found it hollow.