Sweetwater by Lisa Henry ~ Book Review by Lirtle

sweetwater cover 1 Title: Sweetwater

Author: Lisa Henry

Publisher: Riptide

Cover Artist: L. C. Chase

Rating: 4.50 of 5 Stars


Wyoming Territory, 1870.

Elijah Carter is afflicted. Most of the townsfolk of South Pass City treat him as a simpleton because he’s deaf, but that’s not what shames him the most. Something in Elijah runs contrary to nature and to God. Something that Elijah desperately tries to keep hidden.

Harlan Crane, owner of the Empire saloon, knows Elijah for what he is—and for all the ungodly things he wants. And Crane isn’t the only one. Grady Mullins desires Elijah too, but unlike Crane, he refuses to push or mistreat the young man.

When violence shatters Elijah’s world, he is caught between two very different men and two devastating urges: revenge and despair. In a boomtown teetering on the edge of a bust, Elijah must face what it means to be a man in control of his own destiny, and choose a course that might end his life . . . or truly begin it for the very first time.

Lirtle’s View:

To live in a world where your interpretation of nearly everyone else’s words and gestures is nearly always preceded by questions and second guessing… my mind was having trouble keeping pace, cramping in empathy for Elijah. It’s very difficult to imagine how exhausting it was for him to feel this suffocating uncertainty every minute of every day.

Grady. Grady Mullins. A rustler. A cattle rustler who notices Elijah and can’t get rid of the thought of him from that moment on. Grady is smart, caring, and tries to keep things together in his own world of theft and danger, all while wanting to keep his younger cousins – and co-rustlers – safe. They all have dreams but they seem to be stuck in the deep, thick mud of their midnight marauding.

I takes a tender heart to create someone like Elijah, to hear his voice and make it loud enough for everyone else to hear and feel and embrace. The same is true for Doctor Carter, and Grady for that matter. For all of the pain and suffering and loss, there is a great heart beating all throughout this story.

Harlan Crane. I won’t say much about him, despite his rather large role in a segment of Elijah’s life. He is someone who recognizes and indulges a part of Elijah that is elemental, and yet allows Elijah to realize something that surprises, frightens and enlightens. Sometimes the pain flips a switch we didn’t even know existed.

There were some repetitive points made along this road, especially within Grady’s inner dialogue. Knowing Grady as we get to, it’s rather realistic. The thoughts he keeps having, wondering about himself, his life, and Elijah, they’re all understandable. Despite this, I found myself questioning the need for them. To me, they lessened rather than heightened the strength of Grady’s point of view. And believe me, there is strength there.

Can I say spectacular writing?? Because spectacular writing. And why is that? Because this author can translate emotion for the page, it wraps around me in ways I understand and absorb at a gut level. Couple this with time and place, and I’m happy. With no reluctance, I’m wallowing in the world of Sweetwater. Beautiful. Slowly smoldering and darkening. Wildness in the Wild West.

As much as this is Elijah’s story, and it is, I find myself drawn to Grady. He’s still a bit of a mystery at the end of this story. I would have liked more of him, not just because of who he seems to be but as a balance to Elijah and his very internal existence. That is, until my heart was ripped out.

I can’t seem to shake the feeling that I was grasping for more while reading this. I let this settle for a few days, picturing my thoughts attempting to land. Barely scratching the surface of what feels like an endlessly deep story, those thoughts found it difficult to coalesce. Given some of the repetitive thought and dialogue, maybe the author was struggling, reaching, still discovering these characters and their voices. This definitely feels like just the beginning for Elijah and Grady.

Make no mistake about it, this is an open and obvious love letter to the Wild West genre, to this time period and its anything goes yet stiflingly rule-laden world. I share this love. Always have, always will.
I will read any and all journeys set in this dusty, mucky, starry and wide open place that Ms. Henry chooses to share with us. There is an inescapably beautiful quality to her writing and I have no immunity from it, nor do I wish to have any, not an ounce. Her heart and soul are on display here.

I don’t know if we have more coming about Elijah and Grady but I hope we do. No pun intended, but I know there is a goldmine with their lives written all over in and about those dark, slippery and shiny walls. I’ll be there for every word of it. Make no mistake about that. 😉

Buy Links

Amazon US
Amazon UK
All Romance eBooks
Barnes & Noble

I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

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4 thoughts on “Sweetwater by Lisa Henry ~ Book Review by Lirtle

  1. Thanks so much. 😀
    This was definitely unlike any story I’ve read before and the writing is top notch, as always with her.
    I want more! LOL
    Enjoy!! 😀

  2. Hey Rick. 😀
    I hope you enjoy reading it. Anyone who likes stories set in this time and location will probably dig it muchly.

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