Escaping West: Morgan Wyatt
How far would you go to get out of the clutches of a crazy and abusive aunt?
When Kitty Hamilton’s aunt goes too far and her best friend is about to leave town to marry someone she has never met, Kitty devises a plan to escape her aunt’s clutches, whippings, beatings and abusive mouth. Aunt Eugenia needs a slave to take care of her every need. Aunt Eugenia is cruel and she even stole Kitty’s chances of meeting a young man and being happy. What’s worse is she stole her dowry. With her best friend head to the West since agreeing to marry some she never met, Kitty decides to change her appearance, become a man and pretend to be her best friend’s brother. Mail order brides take a chance when they head in the direction of a man who is basically a stranger looking for a wife to take care of him. Right out of Laurel and Hardy or Abbot and Costello Harriet and Kit start their journey to the west and the antics are hilarious. But, when Nick Kennedy finds his way to the same train they are on things start to heat up but not the way you think. Harriet seems to be more man wise and Kit not quite sure of herself or in this case himself as many people have different reactions towards her and some even figure it out. Dressed as a man, pretending to be Harriet’s brother they travel on many trains, meet many people; enter different towns until they find they both need a bath. Well, imagine what happens when Kit is assigned a private one for a man and someone else comes in to share it with her. The scene between her and Nick in the same bathhouse if priceless and what she does to hide that she’s a girl hilarious and ingenious.
A professional gambler whose father is a small town farmer and whose gambling skills can fleece just about anyone that thinks they have a shot at coming away a winner when up against Nick, you learn from the start that he’s estranged from his family because of his occupation you might say. So, why hasn’t this hot hunk settled down? What about his past reminds him to be careful in the present? Why is he attracted to Kit since figuring out she’s girl? As Harriet and Kit enter the small town where her new husband Adam is waiting to meet her, Kit finds herself wondering why it cannot be her. Landing a piano playing job at a local saloon, befriending the women who service the men there she soon learns that not everyone is fooled by her disguise and that the people she meets just might truly care about her and some lasting friendships might be born.
Nick Kennedy is so entranced with her that he’s bent on learning more but first he has to make his way to the town where she is without getting hijacked for his winnings. Cheated on and leaving home because of it, will Kit fills that empty void? As Kit becomes assimilated into the life of a piano player, she bargains with one of the girls to teach her how to play the piano in exchange for some real down earth lessons in poker, cards and maybe gambling. But, what about her past and the threat her aunt tried to hang over her head claiming she caused her to fall? A small mining town whose inhabitants work hard but have little and feel hopeless, despondent and often just plain sad. The miners come into the saloon she works in and the working girls take care of them. Friendships, loyalties, caring, understanding and love are some of the issues brought to light in this novel. At times quite funny the scenes between Nick and Kit are electrifying. But, will they finally come together?
Kit is young, innocent and is working hard to overcome her past and Nick comes to her rescue you might say like a knight in shining armor. Going to work in the saloon she finds herself attracted to Nick but trying to resist his charms. The dialogue between them is crisp, funny and Kit’s sharp tongue keeps Nick in line. But, things get out of hand when someone shows up looking for her hoping to bring her to justice.
So, at 19 poor Kit you might say is an old maid, her aunt is mean, vicious and cruel and now it’s her turn to soar. Marriage is what is expected in order for young women to live safely and is financially secure. As the author flashes back to Kitty’s memories with her aunt you can feel the whip hitting her body and understand why she had to leave. Cruel, inhumane and unfounded treatment she reminds herself every step of the way that her Aunt stole her dowry that her parents left for her and threatened to call the police for making her fall so she would not tell anyone about the money. But, Kitty is smart and what she does quite brilliant as we flash back to the present but not before she dreams of being with Nick. Nick is protective of all of the working girls, close to Stella who owns the saloon and through his rough exterior you know that Kit has won more than just his heart. When the Pinkerton man shows up and starts flirting with Lily, one of the girls she thinks that he might be the one for her. But, when the reality sets in of why he is really there things change, Kitty finds herself having to decide whether to stay or go and then something happens. Hired by her awful Aunt Eugenia wanting to take her in he captures her but not before someone shoots Nick. Is it a man named Walt who wants to recoup his loses? Is it someone else that is following him? What happens when Kit finds out that someone wants what she thinks is hidden in his saddlebags? Running with his bags and taking his horse, Duke the scenes that follow are hilarious as she falls in a hole and the rest you have to read for yourself because you just won’t believe it. The romantic scenes are steamy but not off color and the end result will surprise you as Kit is arrested by the Pinkerton man determined to take her back and face the music. What happens when Nick realizes she is missing? What about the other girls that are her close friends? Will Harriet and Adam stand by her or will Kit face her aunt’s whip again?
Characters that are believable and a story that keeps you laughing, smiling and in suspense with the cute little twist at the end. Someone shows up out of nowhere and things take a different turn. Just who and why leaves readers to wonder if the author is going to bring these characters back again to find out what happens to Nick, who shot him and will everyone live happily safely ever after. What about Otis and Stella? What happens when the truth is revealed? Find out when you read this novel. Escaping West or finding where you really belong! You decide after you read it!
Fran Lewis: Reviewer
This book gets four golden stars