Zebra, Nov 2003
Claire Holladay learns she is dying from consumption, but though she has been diagnosed as having a short time left, she vows to live it to the fullest. She formally dumps her fiancÚ who for practical purposes dumped her anyway. A journalist for Harper's Publishing, Claire sells her publisher on her going out west and sending back articles. Her loving family supports her decision and arranges for Uncle Ben, owner of a Colorado Territory stage line, to meet his beloved niece.
Ben assigns his best man Billy West to meet Claire and escort her to him. Claire hides her condition from everyone except her family, as she wants to live life not feel pity. Billy and Claire fall in love, but though she wants to live life to the fullest, cruel irony is that she has only UNTIL SEPTEMBER.
Fans who relish a deep historical tale will appreciate the depth that Brenda K. Jernigan gives to her poignant tale. The romantic subplot is handled with dexterity, as neither of the fully developed lead characters wants such an emotion at this time in their lives. Don't assume the climax because whether the diagnosis proves correct will require reading the novel as the audience will not know until the end. This in part is why Ms. Jernigan consistently remains one of the best authors around.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner