Five Stars, May 2004, 26.95, 374 pp.
In 1882 New Mexico Territory, traveling nuns from the Sister of Charity accompanied by a novice find the near dead body of half-breed Christian Ladino lying next to a corpse. The women provide aid to Christian taking him to their St. Vincent Hospital in Santa Fe. However, when Christian holds a sister as hostage, the novice Adela Fremont bravely intercedes.
As Christian heals, he and Adela are attracted to one another. They are also connected through con artist and illegal gun seller Nigel Smeet. Christian wants to kill Nigel whose false testimony sent him to Alcatraz while Adela is linked through her mother married to Smeet's former partner. Adela learns that her stepfather, whom she never met, was murdered and her mother, who she has not seen in fifteen years, was abducted along with her stepbrother allegedly by the Apache. She turns to Christian for help though she is not sure she can trust her heart with him.
This entertaining western romance stars two delightful protagonists who feel their growing love is taboo for several reasons and need to avoid one another, but must work as a team if they are to rescue the youngster. The story line contains a whiff of mystery involving what happened to force Adela's mom to “hide” her child in a nunnery. Smeed is an incredibly manipulative villain getting lonely teens to do his bidding.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner