Gert Dooley can shoot the tail feathers off a jay at a hundred yards from years of test-firing the guns her brother repairs. But long after giving up on marriage, she yearns for rancher Ethan Chapman to see she’s more than a crack shot with a firearm. When murder strikes in the sleepy town, Gert forms the Ladies’ Shooting Club to teach the women how to protect themselves, their families, and their businesses.
Ethan Chapman didn’t ask to be named sheriff, but he accepts the position and takes on the investigation into the mysterious death of his predecessor. Now he’s between a rock and a hard place – being pressured by the townswomen to restore order and safety to Fergus and by the men who insist Ethan disband the upstart Ladies’ Shooting Club.
When another person is murdered, Ethan must turn to Gert and her ladies to help in the investigation. But will Ethan, Gert and the Ladies’ Shooting Club find the murderer before he strikes again?
What I thought:
Susan Page Davis takes the reader on quite an unexpected journey with ‘The Sheriff’s Surrender’, which will defy a reader’s presumptions and preconceived ideas of what an historical fiction book is likely to hold. ‘The Sheriff’s Surrender’ presents a unique take on this genre, with plenty of mystery, intrigue, an unexpected ending and a little light romance to top it all off.
Gert was a character I was quickly drawn to. She is a woman of substance and courage, who invests herself and her energies for the benefit of the townsfolk around her. No task is beyond her ‘can do’ attitude to life. Gert’s brother, Hiram, is a quirky man of few words. I love the interchanges between him and Ethan. Susan demonstrates the depth of their friendship as Ethan reads Hiram’s facial expressions more than hearing his thoughts as the two men work through different issues that face each of them.
Ethan garnered my sympathies, as he is landed with the task of solving the mystery of Bert’s murder. Indeed I wondered how one might go about conducting an investigation of such magnitude without any training whatsoever. I was keen to discover how Ethan would go about finding the killer and bring him or her to justice. Susan brings the lightest hint of romance through Ethan’s character, as his stance on taking a bride wars with his realisation of what Gert means to him.
As this story progresses, there is a clear journey from a town of individuals who care only for themselves and their own needs to a town of people who band together to support one another during a time filled with fear and uncertainty. I loved that out of such a situation, people began to accept those who had been previously ignored or deemed to be worthy of disdain from ‘decent’ folks.
This heartening tale will remind the reader that possibilities abound when we overcome our prejudices and work together. I was challenged to consider how I view those who live a life that is less than wholesome and I was inspired to view life’s challenges with a positive attitude rather than through the filter of a victim’s perspective.
With thanks to Barbour for Tracy's review copy
Guest reviewer:~ My friend Tracy from Beyond My Picket Fence