Title: Del Norte
Author: Julia Robb
Publish Date: December 2013
Source: I received a copy from the author; however, this did not affect my review.
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "San Angela is a rough
place in 1870, and Magdalena Chapas knows all about it; from the men who
shoot holes in each other while drinking in her saloon, the Del Norte,
to the man who loved her, married her and left her without a word.
Now Ray Cortez is back, and Magdalena doesn't know what her ex-husband wants.
Does it have anything to do with the gravestone she leaned on the Del Norte's back wall?
The stone says, "Americo Chapas, 1823-1868, Asesinado, Dios Lo Vengara, Murdered, God Will Avenge Him."
Sing Kum knows about men. She was freezing to death in a boxcar when Lan found her and nursed her back to health. But Lan has a past and ambitions Sing only discovers when it's too late. She already loves him.
Wade Pickney knows what men can do because the Yankees locked him up in
a POW camp during the war and almost starved him to death. Then they accused him of the unspeakable.
Thomas knows what men can do because he was adjutant at the camp which imprisoned Wade.
Magdalena's partner at the Del Norte, also knows Ray Cortez is going to
be the death of somebody if he, Thomas, doesn't stop him. homas tells Magdalena that Ray was not a good man but she can trust him, she can love him. "Shut
up," Magdalena says, fending off the drunks, slipping the cards from
the faro box, raking in the money, and waiting for her world to explode
My Two Cents:
"Del Norte" is a historical fiction story with strong Western adventure elements. It has an ensemble of characters who come from very different backgrounds whose lives all touch each other in this book. Westerns are not my usual fare but I appreciated this book for the characters and some of the detail used to bring them to life.
The characters were interesting. I definitely had my favorites. My very favorite character in this book was Sing. I felt bad for her. She comes to live with Lan with hopes of marriage. She knows that they would be a good fit for each other. Lan has other ideas and leaves poor Sing in the dust. I really wanted to know more about her and what made her tick. I thought it was so interesting that she still was so drawn to Lan even after she found out that he had very different ideas than her on what he wanted out of life in this place that was very new to both of them. There were other characters that I really enjoyed but I did wish that Sing had gotten a little more face time in this book.
The writing in this book was good. I liked all of the detail. The characters were very vibrant. Some of the conversations and the way that people spoke in this book felt quite modern and not like the 1870s time period that the book took place in, which took me out of the book a little bit.
Overall, this book would be a good pick for those looking for a character driven adventure story.