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review 2016-11-04 01:54
The Man in the Black Hat - Melissa Bowersock
The Man in the Black Hat - Melissa Bowersock

For this month's Indies Unlimited Reading Challenge, I'm going slightly out of order and reading an indie book "of my choice." (I'll do the one-of-a-series challenge next month.)

Although one could be forgiven for thinking The Man in the Black Hat is part of a time-travel quasi-series. Bowersock's previous two novels were about a modern man named Travis who finds himself mysteriously transported into the past, and makes a better life for himself there than he has in the here and now. Clay Bauer, the main character in this book, is no Travis. He's a character actor in the movies -- the guy who always plays the heavy because of his looks. He's resigned to never being the leading man. But one day, while on location for a Western that's shooting in Sedona, Arizona, Clay stumbles through a sort of wormhole in time, and finds himself in the honest-to-goodness Wild West.

Almost immediately, he meets Ella -- which is a good thing, as he sustained a broken arm in a fall when he transitioned to her time. Ella and her brother Marcus are homesteading near where Sedona will be located someday. The two of them patch Clay up, and let him rest up and heal. But when it's time for Clay to go back to his old life, Ella has a choice: stay with her brother, or leave with the man she has come to love. But will she be able to adjust to life 115 years in the future?



I've enjoyed every Bowersock novel I've read, and this one is no exception. She has clearly done her homework on the history of Sedona, as well as on the movie business. Clay is an engaging fellow, Ella is as spirited and independent as you would expect a frontier woman to be, and the resolution to their dilemma rings true. I would highly recommend The Man in the Black Hat to readers who love a sweet love story.

***
I reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.

Source: www.rursdayreads.com/2016/11/the-man-in-black-hat-melissa-bowersock.html
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review 2016-07-15 02:40
Being Travis (No Time for Travis Book 2) - Melissa Bowersock
Being Travis (No Time for Travis) (Volume 2) - Melissa Bowersock

I enjoyed Finding Travis, Bowersock's first installment in this series, and was pleased to hear that she had written another book with the same appealing characters. I am happy to report that Being Travis did not disappoint.

This book picks up some time after the end of the first book. To recap, Travis Merrill was volunteering as an army surgeon in a reenactment at Camp Verde, Arizona, when he was somehow whisked back in time to the real camp. He managed to pull off pretending to be a real doctor, with the assistance of one Corporal Riley. Now, Travis and Riley have both mustered out of the Army; Travis has married Phaedre, a woman he met at the camp, and is setting up a homestead not far away, with Riley's assistance. As time goes on, Travis discovers it's becoming harder to keep the secret of who is is and when he's from -- especially from his wife.

This is one of those stories where you just want to take the main character and shake some sense into him. Riley, of course, has some inkling of the truth, but all Phaedre knows is that Travis is hiding something from her, and that's not a good foundation for any marriage. Travis did a pretty good job of screwing up his life in our time, and this reader would really hate to see him screw things up in the past, too.

Bowersock has included some intriguing subplots, including one in which a notorious historical figure stumbles across Travis's neighborhood. I hope we've seen the last off that fellow, but the writer in me wonders whether he won't come back for an encore in the next book.

Which is to say that I hope Bowersock writes the next book in this series soon. I would highly recommend both books in this series for readers who enjoy historical fantasy.

Source: www.rursdayreads.com/2016/07/being-travis-no-time-for-travis-book-2.html
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review 2016-05-13 03:03
Finding Travis (No Time for Travis Book 1) - Melissa Bowersock

Life is not going well for Travis Merrill. He has pursued, and abandoned, several careers without really finding his niche. Now his wife has left him. Just about the only good thing he has left in his life is his volunteer work at Fort Verde, a rebuilt frontier encampment in Arizona. 

One night, as he's portraying the cavalry surgeon during a holiday event at the fort, he dozes off in a chair in the surgeon's quarters -- and wakes up in 1877.  As luck would have it, the fort -- then known as Camp Verde -- doesn't have a surgeon in residence. So Travis passes himself off as an Army surgeon from back East, and tries to make it look good by relying on the little bit of medical knowledge he gained during one of his abortive career attempts. As time goes by, Travis begins to realize he may be stuck in 1877 forever.

I always enjoy Bowersock's books; she has a talent for working a paranormal angle into just about anything, including historical fiction. Fort Verde is a real place, and Bowersock has clearly done her homework on the fort and her chosen time period. Travis is an appealing character, but my favorite might be his assistant, Riley -- a finer stoic Irishman you won't find anywhere.

Kudos to Bowersock for this wonderful start to her new series. Highly recommended.

 

***

I received an Advance Reader Copy in exchange for an honest review.

Source: www.rursdayreads.com/2016/05/finding-travis-no-time-for-travis-book.html
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review 2016-02-12 02:27
Sonnets for Heidi - Melissa Bowersock
Sonnets for Heidi - Melissa Bowersock

Sonnets for Heidi is a heartfelt tale in which what-might-have-been becomes a way forward.

Trish has a lot on her plate. She lives in the San Fernando Valley with her boyfriend Eric; they have a great relationship, but Trish had an abusive first marriage and is leery of getting married again. She is also coping with the recent death of her mother -- and the responsiblity for her aunt Heidi that her mother's death has thrust upon her. Trish feels guilty about putting Heidi into a care home, even though Heidi has Alzheimer's and the care home is a great situation for her. Still, she does her best for Heidi, which is more than the woman's son has ever done for her.

Then suddenly, Heidi too dies. And in going through her aunt's things, Trish stumbles onto a family secret -- one that will take her back to her hometown in Pennsylvania, and will introduce her to a woman Heidi never forgot.

Bowersock is a wonderful writer, and here she has brought her characters to life in a kind and loving way. My mother suffered from dementia before she died, and I recognized many of Heidi's behaviors as the coping skills they were -- and I felt for Trish, who always seemed to cope with them with grace. And the way she honored her aunt's memory at the end was marvelous.

I highly recommend Sonnets for Heidi for any reader who enjoys character studies of strong women, and for those who need to be reminded of how oppressed women were in the first half of the 20th century.

***
I received an Advance Reader Copy of this book, and am providing an honest review in exchange.

Source: www.rursdayreads.com/2016/02/sonnets-for-heidi-melissa-bowersock.html
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review 2015-03-27 01:40
Fleischerhaus - Melissa Bowersock
Fleischerhaus - Melissa Bowersock

Melissa Bowersock is back with another ghost story, but this one is a little different than her book Stone's Ghost.

Julia Martin, recovering from a marriage gone sour, travels to Bavaria to stay with Maggie, an old college friend. While she and Maggie are bicycling in the countryside one day, they chance upon a site that was once the location of a German concentration camp. Maggie feels a sense of disorientation there -- and the feeling gets even more pronounced when the two women tour the site. To top it off, Julia knows the locations of buildings in the camp that historians are only guessing at. It's almost as if she has been there before.

A concerned Maggie takes Julia to the local clinic, where Julia meets Dr. Theo Seiler. Theo speculates that Julia might indeed have lived -- and died -- at Fleischerhaus in a previous life, and together they embark on a search for answers.

Bowersock's usual smooth style is in evidence here. Julia and Theo are wonderful characters, and their blossoming romance is charmingly portrayed. The author does as deft a job with the horrific scenes where Julia recalls what happened to her earlier self at Fleischerhaus, as well as the inevitable end game in which Julia puts more than just her own ghost to rest.

Highly recommended.

Source: hearth-myth-rursday-reads.blogspot.com/2015/03/fleischerhaus-melissa-bowersock.html
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