Two determined women in a hostile world
With Cowboys And Kisses, I feel author Karin Kallmaker has written a new classic. I stayed up reading deep into the night, unable to put down this utterly enthralling novella.
Life in the West was no picnic for women and girls if they didn’t have the protection of their family or the prospect of marriage. Young Darlin’ finds out soon enough when she’s cast out by her family at the age of 13.
There was no work for a young woman in Long Grass, and no merchant willing to feed and house me in return for my unpracticed needlework and entertaining stories. I had too much education to know a skill anyone would pay for, and not enough education to teach. I possessed no paper to prove my name or age, so I could not prove I was old enough to marry under territorial law, even had I been able to stomach that alternative.
When I had nothing left I could afford to trade, I abandoned all hope of returning home and traded my body because I was old enough to whore.
Kallmaker gives us a realistic view of what daily life is about for the young women in a small prairie town bordello in 1870. Darlin’ witnesses abuse, botched pregnancies, and a soul-destroying, unrelenting stream of unwashed, drunken customers. Her hopes, her dreams, her pending doom, her escape into writing. I won’t give away too much about the plot, just know that you are in safe hands.
With Cownboys and Kisses, Kallmaker proves once again why she is still the empress of lesfic. I fell in love with Darlin’. Her tenacity, her staying power, her not letting go of her hopes and dreams. It’s a gritty book, but there is a fine balance between romance and reality. And the intimate scenes are beautifully appropriate for the period. I highly recommend it.
f/f Kallmaker blew me away.
*ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review