Genres: Historical Romance, Western Romance
Published by Penguin Random House Audio
Released on September 7, 2000
Length: 5 hrs and 9 mins
A large inheritance, a conspiracy to steal it, and a young mountain woman who aims to bring home to her needing family has need of come hell or high water. Louis L’Amour is a favorite author and his western and adventure stories especially his Sackett family saga has fired my imagination for decades. L’Amour has always represented the women in his stories with the same care that he takes with his male heroes- frontier tough, but to my knowledge this is the only story with the primary character being a women. And, what a gal she is, but, then again, she’s a Sackett.
Ride the River is the fifth book in the Sacketts series. This is a series of standalones organized chronologically. The books that come after this one tend to be all grouped around the same time frame with Ride the River bridging the gap between the old Colonial era Sacketts to the post-Civil War generation.
In 1840, Echo Sackett is sixteen and ready for her first adventure away from her Tennessee mountain home. When the traveling Tinker shows their family a notice in an obscure Pennsylvania newspaper that the youngest descendant of Kin Sackett has an inheritance coming, she knows she must go. Her family doesn’t have much and her widowed ma and her uncle aren’t getting younger so off she goes.
In Philadelphia, Echo encounters the shyster lawyer who is handling the estate and he has no intention of a backwoods hick to get so much money. But, he’s not the only shark circling around such a large inheritance. Echo might be confused about big city ways, but she knows her varmints when she sees them and she contacts Finian Chantry, a renowned trial lawyer to help with the legal issues and Finian sends his nephew along to watch her back on the treacherous journey home with a carpet back full of money.
Dorian Chantry reluctantly follows Echo and shakes his head over a slip of a girl carting all that money and traveling alone. He’s used to polished debutantes and idling his time with gentlemanly pursuits, but out on the frontier that cuts no ice ad he must step it up to prove to his uncle and to himself that he’s capable. But, then he starts to see Echo is something special and takes the shine out of all those girls back in Philadelphia. She knows they are in trouble with killers on their trail, but calmly tells him that they just need to hold out until her kin can get there- and they will come.
I enjoyed this slice of adventure told during a time period that isn’t common for most American historical fiction or romance. The nation is young, but growing in this time of expansion. River travel is king. The 1840’s are still a time when the frontier started just beyond the cities in the east. L’Amour paints the settings so vividly that I felt I was there.
As to the characters, it is a given that they are colorful and diverse from several stratas of American society and race. As to personalities, Echo was a sparkling young woman who is confident without being arrogant. She lets the snobs in the cities think she’s naive hick from the hills, but she’s smart and educated in the way of survival and reading people like she reads sign while out hunting. It was fun when she takes a shine to Dorian even when he pretended not to notice the pretty young woman with his uncle. And, it was more fun when she taught the villains a few lessons about underestimating a gal particularly when she was armed with her own hunting knife, pistol, and rifle and had grown up rough and lean in the hills of Tennessee with mostly men. She knows those men are strong and cunning, but she works to outwit them and stay alive and keep Dorian alive once he joins her in her element.
My only niggle is it ends abruptly. Lots of hinting as to where things are going, but I would have liked to be sure.
The narration work was done by Jamie Rose who is new to me. She had a great rustic voice for Echo and voiced the others so that their gender, class, and character came out as clearly as the words describing them. I thought she matched well for this style of story and would definitely listen to her work again.
All in all, it was exciting and fun with a great blend of historical, adventure, and romance by a master storyteller. The family saga set against the American frontier was just the thing and I look forward to listening to more Sackett stories. I can definitely recommend this one to historical, western, and adventure fans.
Mt TBR #15
Historical Fiction #13
Literary Pickers #24 journey