My Heart Belongs in the Superstition Mountains by Susan Page Davis
Published By Barbour Publishing March 01, 2017
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Experience the Wild West as Carmela seeks freedom of body and soul. Forced for years by her uncle to pose as a survivor of an Indian kidnapping so he can profit on the speaker circuit, she longs to end the lies. On a stagecoach in Arizona Territory, Carmela and her uncle are fellow passengers with a deputy US marshal and his handcuffed prisoner. When the stage is attacked, will Carmela’s wish come true, or will she forever be branded by her past?
Susan Page Davis’s recently released historical fiction story carried good potential for well developed novel but lacks polished characters and a complete ending.
Having read a nice short story by Ms Davis in years past I had reasonably high hopes for this latest story of hers. She began the story well enough with a good amount of suspense and intrigue but as the pages went on, I found that it lacked much that I look for in a good book. A well-developed plot is essential to a good story in my opinion but while this had a good beginning and okay middle, the end was one of the worst I’ve read – it just stopped, leaving the story hanging in some ways that were slightly angering. I am always of the opinion that everyone in a story gets their just rewards by the conclusion if you do not intend a story to become a series; however Ms. Davis allowed a central character to remain unpunished and able to live the life he wished to live. Although I know that is often the case in real life, this incompleteness to a story never endears me to an author. And the supposed love story in this book was just sad in its attempt at reality, as I will explain further below. As to the main characters, I felt that they remained rather shallow. Ms. Davis attempted to have Carmela learn many lessons in her story but they were so multiple and scattered in their telling it was almost dizzying to read. The hero, Freeland, was a weak sort of character that, in spite of his job as a lawman, seemed rather un-courageous and simple minded. I kept waiting on him to show some “Yumph” but, in spite of coming close a couple times, it just never happened. And with the inclusion of so many substories I found myself wondering when or if Ms. Davis would be able to bring everything to a close – quickly finding out she would not do that. I was further disappointed in her heroine Carmela who she wrote had been so completely controlled and cowed by her uncle for years but somehow had great courage in the face of danger and death. And she also seemed to have a working knowledge of what to do when stranded in the desert. It was so opposite of what one would think this character should know given her background. Add to this the fact that she knew how to cook, despite having been traveling with her uncle from the time she was twelve and they had always stayed in hotels and eaten in cafes. How exactly was she supposed to have gained those skills given her upbringing?? There were a few redeeming qualities from this story: Carmela’s gaining freedom from her uncle and from the lies she was forced to tell, and finding love with Freeland. I was glad to see she was able to gain freedom from her past and found a new way of life in the town of Prescott. In the telling of this, Ms Davis did well. And even though I was happy to see that Carmela and Freeland found love together, Ms. Davis did not give adequate space to their journey of love. It was thrown in on the last few pages as a sort of afterthought that did not go well with the rest of the story. Maybe there were many fast marriages because of need in American Western history but I found the idea of real love between these two to be rather far fetched as they didn’t spend that much time together other than their two days walk in the desert. Therefore, with all the problems I found in this story I cannot in good conscience recommend this story to anyone who actually cares what they are reading. If it was just a book someone wanted to read to waste time, maybe, but I personally would rather re-read an old favorite that I knew I liked. Knowing Ms. Davis has won awards for several of her former works I hope this book is just a one off for her and any future works will be much better developed and cohesive.
I received this E-book free of charge from Barbour Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I will receive no fiscal compensation from either company for this review.