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  • Writer's pictureThe Bossy Bookworm

Review of Lucky Red by Claudia Cravens

Claudia Cravens's story of a young brothel worker in late nineteenth-century Dodge City, Kansas, offers up a tough young heroine who makes mistakes but whose perseverance and loyalty lead her to an unorthodox life full of friends and adventure.

Practical, tough sixteen-year-old Bridget arrives in 1877 Dodge City without a penny to her name or enough marketable skills to earn her keep.

She begins working at the Buffalo Queen, using her bright-red hair and pure, country-girl appeal to her advantage.

Then Bridget falls for a fellow "sporting woman," and when the Buffalo Queen is threatened, she must determine where her loyalties lie.

I'm a big fan of Western-set stories and the hardscrabble details of life at that time, particularly stories with modern sensibilities superimposed on them.

Bridget is strong and no-nonsense yet also inexperienced and far from worldly. Her decision to become a prostitute is a choice between hunger and a full belly, and she isn't sentimental about sexual intimacy or about what might have been. Just when I was beginning to wonder whether her life in a brothel was being too romanticized, the various dangers one could imagine befalling a brothel in Dodge City begin to destroy the peace and status quo.

Bridget has a chance at a stable new beginning--yet she's young and can't stifle her yearning for adventure. (The way in which this itch is scratched is not likely one she would have chosen, but such is life.)

The bedrock for Lucky Red is made up of wonderful historical fiction details of life in the dusty, volatile, lawless West.

Do you have any Bossy thoughts about this book?

I received a prepublication version of this book courtesy of NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group, Dial Press.

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