A BRIDE’S PORTRAIT
By Erica Vetsch
This interesting book might take place in Dodge—but it’s not “Gunsmoke.”The setting is not the Long Branch Saloon, with its “attached” brothel. Much of this book takes place in a photography studio, the sheriff’s office, the mercantile, and the Wild West’s streets.
The leading man does carry guns on his hips, and he’s a deputy working for the legendary Bat Masterson. Of course, the leading lady is the photographer.
But another deputy, a gal that works at the mercantile, a slick handsome gambler that says he works for the railroad, also play a big part.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see a western like this written by a blacksmith, but a female wordsmyth who creates a symphony with words while she wraps the reader around her plot’s baton?
Erica Vetsch’s words have cadence, rhythm, harmony, melody, percussion—words that sing. Vivid description, memorable characters, but also heart ache, secrets, murder, fear, greed and the fruits of the Spirit mingling to bring out truth and victory over evil.
The whole book has a voice and style I enjoyed. The characters are so believable I probably will think of them when I pass through Dodge again.
Here are a few samples of Erica’s writing:
Page 15: The smells of ink and beeswax furniture polish drifted over her. Everything in this bank bespoke of prosperity, from the shiny woodwork to the burgundy velvet wallpaper to the gleaming brass hardware. A row of teller windows took up the left-hand wall. Patrons stood patiently in line waiting for their turns, and Addie took her place at the tail end.
“Lord, please let the bank manager understand….”
Page 47: Miles’ chest squeezed. Just because something was legal didn’t make it right. The gambling, drinking, and immorality of Dodge City flew in the face of everything his newfound faith and God’s Word told him.
Page 255: Miles stared down at the unconscious form now sprawled across the bunk in the first cell. “I’m surprised you stood it for as long as you did. He had no call to say those things about Fran. He’s sloppy drunk, and he’s mean afterward.” And more slippery than a pickled onion.
This is one of those books that caught me in its pages and I found myself reading late into the night and once during a meal.
I love this era, and I enjoy good writing. I definitely will be interested in reading more of Erica Vetsch’s books.
NOTE: I was provided a review copy of this book.