I have been on a bit of a crusade to find titles similar to Guns & Smoke. Well, dear readers, let me tell you: I have found it!
Thirst rules. Ignorance is power. Nothing is as it seems.
Centuries after the boom of the Industrial Revolution, sandstorms ravage the land, chivalry is dead, and the frills and frivolities of the Romantic Era are a distant memory.
Marshal Cunningham rules Sagebrush Canyon with lies and an iron fist. But after the horrors he wreaks on Jo’s family, she’ll do everything she can to expose the tyrant he truly is.
Just when Jo plans to make her move, the marshal plays a card of his own—his notoriously scandalous son, Clayton. As Jo and Clayton are forced together, painful truths are revealed, lines become blurred, and Jo must decide if she is willing to sacrifice her heart or Sagebrush for retribution.
First off, I must say, Pogue is fantastic at descriptive writing without overkill. In each scene, I felt like I was physically there, because I could see the settings, smell the air, taste the dust. I literally stopped at one point so I could highlight a particularly visceral scene that I am studying to enhance my own work.
From the start, the reader is thrown into the action. The main character, Jo, experiences the tragic loss of her mother, but that isn't the ending: it's only the beginning. Flash forward several years. Jo and her father run the farm that feeds the majority of Sagebrush. Water is king.
I loved Jo's cynical voice. I loved that she abhorred having to follow societal norms. While she'd never judge anyone who did, I admire that she wanted to be true to herself and went out of her way for it.
I love a romantic interest with shades of gray and questionable morales. Clayton was just that.
While Jo searches for truth, she and Clayton get thrown together in an engagement that neither of them truly want.
Full of gunslinging, wild west references, and unexpected romance, Dust and Shadow was one of my favorite reads so far this year.
I have two complaints: 1. that we didn't get more of Clayton's perspective. We would get multiple Jo chapters, then one Clayton and repeat the cycle. 2. the sex was fade to black. As a romance writer, I need the payoff of sex on the page.
That's not to say it wasn't a fantastical, fun story. I already have the second book on my shelves, and I can't wait to read it!.
If you're interested in learning more, check out this link.
Also, as a bonus, Lindsey is going to be offering a giveaway for a FREE e-book copy of Guns & Smoke in her newsletter on 4/19. Sign up here if you're interested!