Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Chances-Pamela Nowak

Pamela Nowak
Five Star, Jan 2008, $25.95
ISBN 9781594146374

In 1876 thirty something women’s suffragette activist Sarah Donovan is elated as she obtains a position as a telegrapher for the Kansas Pacific line. She joins the local chapter of the Colorado Suffrage Association. When some children wanting to collect the bounty on stray dogs, shoot the pet of two little girls Kate and Molly, Sarah intercedes too late as Biscuit is shot dead. Making matters worse, her Good Samaritan deed took her away from her job for a moment leading to a telegram she was to deliver to Daniel Petterman the undertaker being gone and so is the body he is to bury.

The two kids introduce their hero Sarah to their widower father Daniel Petterman the undertaker. Sarah and Daniel are attracted to one another, but he is a prim and proper person so will not act on his desires. Meanwhile at work Sarah suffers from male chauvinism accentuated by a peer Frank, who wants her albeit in the kitchen. She also has problems with several CSA females who do frown on her relationship with the undertaker and his children.

This is an interesting look at Reconstruction Era Colorado mostly through the eyes of a woman trying to make it in a man’s world. The secondary cast is strong as they either behave with contempt, jealousy or admiration of Sarah. While Daniel’s courtship is entertaining as he is as stiff as those he buries. Although the ending seems off kilter, readers will appreciate Pamela Nowak’s entertaining historical

Harriet Klausner

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