Title: Colorado Silver, Colorado Gold
Author: Terry Irene Blaine
Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group
Target Audience: Adult
Genre: Historical romance
Length: 225 pages
Story: To protect her sister, Juliette Lawson stole documents and fled west. Now Wes Westmoreland, undercover lawman, threatens both her plan and her heart.
Socialite Juliette Lawson fled west from Philadelphia on a train and in disguise. In Colorado she’d be safe; she’d take work with her uncle at the Rio d'Oro, his smelting operation. Her actions back east had been wrong, but to protect her pregnant sister from scandal she would have done anything. Then she met a man as hungry for answers as she was for independence. A handsome, honorable man. For him, she wished the truth was hers to tell.
From the first, Wes Westmoreland knew he couldn’t trust her. Having grown up in the saloons and brothels of San Francisco, he saw trust, like love, as a luxury an undercover lawman couldn’t afford. Not on a job like this one, not with gold involved. This woman dressed as a widow was clearly hiding something; he’d felt it the moment they touched. But he’d felt other things too, stirrings in his heart, and for the first time ever, he saw riches worth the peril.
Thoughts and impressions:
Historical romance seems to be one of my weaknesses. It’s not a genre that’s usually particularly inspiring and often enough the books are set in England (or Scotland) but written in modern day American English, which bugs me to no end. I haven’t read very many historical anythings set in the Americas but I’ve been brought up around a grandmother who happens to be overly fond of westerns, so when I read the synopsis of this one I was intrigued. The American west in that period was still very much on the wild side and that sort of setting appeals to me, possibly because it’s such a far cry from anything to be found these days.
The author managed to really capture the feel of the period for me. I felt transported. I could just imagine this little western town they were living in! It was obvious that she did a lot of research and went to great lengths to make her period feel authentic – research and great lengths that definitely paid off for me as the reader.
It was also interesting to see the process of getting gold and silver from the ore and how the refineries (that might not be the correct word but it’s the only one coming to mind right now) were operated. There was a slight issue here, however, in that the information was too clumped for me. Wes gives Julie a tour of her uncle’s “refinery” and explains the processes to her, which is a good example of exposition through dialogue. My issue was that there was too much information too fast for me to really absorb it properly. It didn’t help that I was already tired and so a large amount of what is essentially nonfiction coming at me all at once felt more like a barrage of facts than part of the story. I understand what the author was doing, but my mind just couldn’t deal with it.
Thankfully these “info dumps” were few and far between and I was able to really appreciate the intricate story that the author was weaving. As a historical romance it does, of course, focus mainly on the budding relationship between Wes and Julie but there’s enough going on around it to keep it well balanced. I didn’t feel completely swamped by just the relationship and it wasn’t love at first sight (though it was lust, but I’m happy with lust. Lust is normal).
Wes being an undercover officer for Wells Fargo was also of particular interest. I have to admit that I didn’t even know there was such a thing as Wells Fargo; never mind what its role was. So I actually learnt bits of American history from reading this book! That’s something that always appeals to me in a book.
Style: I don't have anything in partiulcar to note about the style. I enjoyed the author's prose from start to finish.
Final verdict: Historical romances are one of my weaknesses and I have to say that usually they don't really live up to what I was expecting of them. This one, though, really tickled my fancy! 4.5 stars
Extra notes: Sex is present. Bad language didn't stand out but could be present.
In the author's own words:
Topic: Story Ideas from Research
Colorado Silver, Colorado Gold’s story idea grew out of the location. Having driven through Durango on several occasions, I loved the place. Doing research on the history of Durango brought up the city’s connection with Wells Fargo and reading about Wells Fargo, I found that the company in the era of my story did in fact, have detectives.
Wow, what a great idea – my hero, Wes, could be a detective for Wells Fargo. Many of the incidents that happened or are related to my hero as a Wells Fargo detective actually occurred (although I’ve used my hero, with changes in times and place). This is why I love research.
The Wells Fargo connection also gave me some of Wes’ backstory/background. To
communicate between offices and various other businesses in San Francisco (giving me where my hero grew up), Wells Fargo employed boys to carry messages at twenty-five cents a message. This would be Wes’ first job, connecting him with the company. This allowed Wes to advance in the company eventually becoming a guard for the iconic green box (green painted box wooden box bound with strap iron and sealed with a hasp and lock), which became a trademark of the company; his foiling a robbery ended up with him becoming a detective for the company.
Much to my surprise, I found that several undercover Wells Fargo detectives held jobs as deputy sheriffs, or even county sheriffs while actually working for Wells Fargo. So Wes’ job working for the smelters isn’t as odd as it might seem.
The most famous Wells Fargo detective was James Hume, responsible for the capture of Black Bart, the notorious stagecoach bandit know for leaving poetic messages at the site of his robberies. At what turned out to be Black Bart’s last robbery, he was wounded and fled the scene. One of the items left behind was a handkerchief with a laundry mark. Hume and another Wells Fargo detective went to over ninety laundries in San Francisco and traced it the customer and his boarding house. The suspect confessed to the robbery.
Even today, the Wells Fargo stagecoach is still one of the enduring images of the West. Doing research on Wells Fargo really helped me shape my hero and his character and helped me develop the plot of Colorado Silver, Colorado Gold.
Terry Irene Blain was lucky enough to grow up in a large Mid-western family with a rich oral tradition. As a child she heard stories of ancestors’ adventures with Indians, wildlife, weather and frontier life in general, so she naturally gravitated to the study of history and completed a BA and MA then taught the subject at the college level. Married to a sailor, now retired, she’s had the chance to live in various parts of the U.S. and has traveled to Hong Kong, Australia, England and Scotland.
“My degrees and my teaching experience make me a natural to write historical romance. Writing historical romance gives me the opportunity to pass on stories of who we are and where we come from while exploring the relationship between men and women. What could be more exciting than that?”