Anna Finch and the Hired Gun, by Kathleen Y’Barbo (WaterBrook Press, 2010)
In 1885 Denver, Anna Finch is the youngest of five daughters, and the only one unmarried. She’s far more interested in being a journalist, but her wealthy father would be horrified if a member of his family was known to be employed. He’s frequently horrified anyway by her less-than-decorous behaviour.
When Mr. Finch discovers she’s been out on horseback alone again, disguised as a boy no less, he issues an ultimatum. Anna must marry and become her husband’s responsibility, not her father’s. Until that time, her father hires her a bodyguard.
Jeb Sanders thinks it will be an easy assignment, but that’s before he meets Anna – and discovers she’s the “boy” who shot him. Jeb has also seen Anna talking with the notorious Doc Holliday, the man who killed Jeb’s wife.
Anna is a feisty character, but Jeb is very good at his job. Can he keep her safe while using her connection with Doc Holliday to bring the man to justice?
This is a light-hearted read, but Jeb’s struggle to let go of his need for vengeance gives readers something to ponder.
Jeb spent the next several minutes staring at the apothecary door, trying to decide just how bad an idea it was to go inside. His stupid side won out. (p. 48)
The novel is the sequel to The Secret Life of Eugenia Cooper, which I hadn’t read. If you plan to read them both, do it in order, because this one clearly refers to events in the first one.
Kathleen Y’Barbo writes both contemporary and historical fiction. Anna Finch and the Hired Gun is book 2 of 3 in her Women of the West series. The full series is also available as a single ebook, The Rocky Mountain Heiress Collection.
[Review copy from my personal library.]