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Fire Season

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The propulsive story of three scheming opportunists--a banker, a conman, and a woman with an extraordinary gift--whose lives collide in the wake of a devastating fire in the American West For the citizens of Spokane Falls, the fire of 1889 that destroyed their frontier boomtown was no disaster; it was an opportunity. Barton Heydale, manager of the only bank in Spokane Falls The propulsive story of three scheming opportunists--a banker, a conman, and a woman with an extraordinary gift--whose lives collide in the wake of a devastating fire in the American West For the citizens of Spokane Falls, the fire of 1889 that destroyed their frontier boomtown was no disaster; it was an opportunity. Barton Heydale, manager of the only bank in Spokane Falls, is on the verge of ending his short, unpopular life. But when his city goes up in flames, he sees an ember of hope shimmering on the horizon, headed right for him. As citizens flock to the bank to cash out insurance policies and take out loans, he realizes he can command the power he craves--and it's not by following the rules. Here is his reason to live. When Quake Auchenbaucher, a career conman hired to investigate the cause of the fire, arrives in Spokane Falls, he employs his usual shady tactics. But this time, with Washington Territory vying for statehood, the sudden attention to due process jeopardizes Quake's methods of manipulation. And then there's Roslyn Beck, whose uncanny ability to see the future has long driven her to drink, and with whom both Barton and Quake have fallen madly and dangerously in love. She is known as a "certain kind of woman," in possession of unique talents and influence, if only she can find the right ways to wield them. As their paths collide, diverge, and collide again, Barton, Quake, and Roslyn come to terms with their own needs for power, greed, and control, leading one to total ruin, one to heartbreak, and one, ultimately, to redemption. With masterful precision, devious originality, and dark whimsy, Fire Season freshly imagines the greed and misogyny of the American West to tell a rollicking, bewitching story about finding purpose in the face of injustice.


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The propulsive story of three scheming opportunists--a banker, a conman, and a woman with an extraordinary gift--whose lives collide in the wake of a devastating fire in the American West For the citizens of Spokane Falls, the fire of 1889 that destroyed their frontier boomtown was no disaster; it was an opportunity. Barton Heydale, manager of the only bank in Spokane Falls The propulsive story of three scheming opportunists--a banker, a conman, and a woman with an extraordinary gift--whose lives collide in the wake of a devastating fire in the American West For the citizens of Spokane Falls, the fire of 1889 that destroyed their frontier boomtown was no disaster; it was an opportunity. Barton Heydale, manager of the only bank in Spokane Falls, is on the verge of ending his short, unpopular life. But when his city goes up in flames, he sees an ember of hope shimmering on the horizon, headed right for him. As citizens flock to the bank to cash out insurance policies and take out loans, he realizes he can command the power he craves--and it's not by following the rules. Here is his reason to live. When Quake Auchenbaucher, a career conman hired to investigate the cause of the fire, arrives in Spokane Falls, he employs his usual shady tactics. But this time, with Washington Territory vying for statehood, the sudden attention to due process jeopardizes Quake's methods of manipulation. And then there's Roslyn Beck, whose uncanny ability to see the future has long driven her to drink, and with whom both Barton and Quake have fallen madly and dangerously in love. She is known as a "certain kind of woman," in possession of unique talents and influence, if only she can find the right ways to wield them. As their paths collide, diverge, and collide again, Barton, Quake, and Roslyn come to terms with their own needs for power, greed, and control, leading one to total ruin, one to heartbreak, and one, ultimately, to redemption. With masterful precision, devious originality, and dark whimsy, Fire Season freshly imagines the greed and misogyny of the American West to tell a rollicking, bewitching story about finding purpose in the face of injustice.

30 review for Fire Season

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Lawson

    Three schemers collide during a devastating fire in the American West.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    3.5 rounded up for a debut.

  3. 4 out of 5

    MaHfEr

    I tried…. I really tried but soooooooo boring. The writing and the plot are just no for me

  4. 5 out of 5

    Susan Wright

    3.5 stars. Just before Washington Territory gets statehood in 1889 a fire rips through Spokane Falls reinvigorating the lives of three misfits: Barton Heydale, a manager at the bank, who figures out a way to embezzle funds; Roslyn Beck, a prostitute who reads minds; and Quake Auchenbaucher, a con man who arrives in town posing as a federal arson inspector. The story follows the lives of these three as their paths cross in interesting ways after the devastating fire as they try to prosper & gain 3.5 stars. Just before Washington Territory gets statehood in 1889 a fire rips through Spokane Falls reinvigorating the lives of three misfits: Barton Heydale, a manager at the bank, who figures out a way to embezzle funds; Roslyn Beck, a prostitute who reads minds; and Quake Auchenbaucher, a con man who arrives in town posing as a federal arson inspector. The story follows the lives of these three as their paths cross in interesting ways after the devastating fire as they try to prosper & gain power, while also becoming involved. The narrative imbues a time when the wild American West was still pretty wild and filled with imposters, charlatans, drunks, and people on the take... but there are some redemptive qualities to these characters as well. It's an illuminating and well-told tale ... as these three go from Spokane to Portland, with an ending in San Fran.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Geonn Cannon

    This was a really great read, which is a relief considering the disappointment of the previous two books. I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish. Amusing without being over the top ridiculous. Roslyn is such a great character. I'll definitely keep an eye out for more from Leyna Krow (especially if she stays in the Pacific Northwest, but that's just a personal preference) This was a really great read, which is a relief considering the disappointment of the previous two books. I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish. Amusing without being over the top ridiculous. Roslyn is such a great character. I'll definitely keep an eye out for more from Leyna Krow (especially if she stays in the Pacific Northwest, but that's just a personal preference)

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mary Enger

    Enjoyed the overall story, my only complaint is I hated Barton and his POV went on for so long.

  7. 5 out of 5

    nini

    i enjoyed it i haven’t read something like this in a while ++ the location was a first kinda why i read it plus emi u know the cover is 5/5 ! i don’t have much to say this time it was interesting a certain braincell needed to be on at all times 🫗

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tricia Youmans

    I liked the dry and kinda dark humor. Had a bit of a Kurt Vonnegut humor to the characters. I enjoyed it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ben Ostrander

    Fast moving story with schemers, crooks, impersonators, drunks and several psychics run amok in pre-statehood Washington in the 1880s. Recommended.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jillian Doherty

    The premise of this book grabbed me by the collar to read! I was delighted to see that I had even more to offer. Starting out, the atmosphere and characters reminded me, of the show I loved, Deadwood – but placed in Portland in the early 1800s instead. (The fantastic author’s note goes into phenomenal detail outlining why this time period was chosen). Slowly I came to enjoy the shift in protagonists - from the patriarchal bank owner who felt entitled to make deceitful, but self-justifying decision The premise of this book grabbed me by the collar to read! I was delighted to see that I had even more to offer. Starting out, the atmosphere and characters reminded me, of the show I loved, Deadwood – but placed in Portland in the early 1800s instead. (The fantastic author’s note goes into phenomenal detail outlining why this time period was chosen). Slowly I came to enjoy the shift in protagonists - from the patriarchal bank owner who felt entitled to make deceitful, but self-justifying decisions. To Roslyn, a woman a bill repute who was given numerous opportunities as well – but she transformed herself in an entirely different way! Along the way, extraordinary themes of the day were elevated as well from spiritualism to feminism, and independence only the west experienced during that time. This is not only a page-turning narrative, it’s also a love letter to Portland’s history - elevating contemporary westerns as so many of us dealt want. Galley borrowed from the publisher.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Pamela

    I really enjoyed the first half of this tale of three unique souls — a banker turned thief, a teacher turned prostitute, a boy turned conman. Then there was the whole spiritualist/visions/soul walking thing. I would have enjoyed it better as straight historical fiction without the mystical aspect that appeared later in the story. 3.5 stars.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Candace

    Most of “Fire Season” is set in 1889 Spokane Falls, Washington Territory, and like so many western towns of the time, it has caught fire. This is both a tragedy and an opportunity for the characters in the novel, and each will make the most of it in their own way. The first POV is that of Barton Haydale, bank manager, universally disliked in town. Since the perspective is his he doesn’t seem that bad a fellow, certainly not bad enough to warrant such feelings among the populace. The only person h Most of “Fire Season” is set in 1889 Spokane Falls, Washington Territory, and like so many western towns of the time, it has caught fire. This is both a tragedy and an opportunity for the characters in the novel, and each will make the most of it in their own way. The first POV is that of Barton Haydale, bank manager, universally disliked in town. Since the perspective is his he doesn’t seem that bad a fellow, certainly not bad enough to warrant such feelings among the populace. The only person he has any sort of relationship with is Roslyn the drunken prostitute who sometimes nods off during their twice-weekly meetings. The fire brings him the opportunity to make a load of money by giving people fake scrip as they take out loans to rebuild. He plans to grab Roslyn and scarper somewhere when he has enough cash. The town unwittingly hires conman Quake Aushenbaucher to investigate the fire and he should be making a pile, but his underhanded tactics are curbed by the Territory’s quest for statehood. And then there’s Roslyn, whose reason to drink is that she can see the future. She can also levitate, pass through walls and invisibly follow people, none of which she wants to do. She is not interested in love, so naturally both men fall for her. “Fire Season” struggles to find balance between being a historical novel and a supernatural one. Barton’s section is the longest and most straight-forward. It slogs, probably because we never quite understand what it is about him that repels others. We see it later, but not while we are experiencing his take on the fire. Quake’s skill in the con comes from his ability to read others. Roslyn sees the future but doesn’t know how to interpret it or know what to do with that knowledge, which sometimes make her long to dive into the bottle. Leyna Krow writes very well and her characters are complex and interesting. Her description of 1889 Portland is filled with the wonderful details Roslyn would notice in the biggest town she’s ever visited. At the end of the book everyone remains a mystery to themselves and each other. I’m going with three and a half stars for “Fire Season.” The opening section takes too long to get going, but if you stick with it the story will catch fire. There is a lot to like—you just need to get there. Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for digital access to “Fire Season” in exchange for an honest review.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Celeste

    4.25 stars This book kind of snuck up on me in that it’s not something that I tend to pick up all that frequently. But the idea of grifting and con artists in the American West just before the turn of the 20th century intrigued me, and I have to say this was definitely a fascinating read. Firstly because this spans so many genres: there’s the obvious historical setting, fantastical aspects, literary roots, western vibes and a mystery at its core. And they all seamlessly coexist because the writing 4.25 stars This book kind of snuck up on me in that it’s not something that I tend to pick up all that frequently. But the idea of grifting and con artists in the American West just before the turn of the 20th century intrigued me, and I have to say this was definitely a fascinating read. Firstly because this spans so many genres: there’s the obvious historical setting, fantastical aspects, literary roots, western vibes and a mystery at its core. And they all seamlessly coexist because the writing just kind of sweeps you away into the story about a fire in a hotel in Spokane Falls pre-statehood. It’s a world far removed from technology and science only in that those serve as either setting pieces or a means for characters to exert their will. The interludes and titled chapters were a treat; easily my favourite parts of the novel, they sprang up out of the plot without warning but with a focused intent. And the way the prologue and epilogue tied the three parts together was so well done. I found myself thinking about how effectively the narrative was delivered by the end of it all and I’m still really impressed with the execution. This is a story written in the era of the snake oil salesmen. And it delivers overtly but still in a masterful manner because there’s a lovely beat of humour embedded throughout the story by way of hypocrisy. The characters are an interesting sort, outcasts in their own way, and brought together to interact in a curious manner. I had thought there would be some sort of grift that all three take part in, but that wasn’t the case. Slow paced and character driven, this is a story divided into its parts, specifically it’s character perspectives. We begin with Barton, who is an extremely unlikeable incel. He was a nice guy before the term nice guy was ever used in such a derogatory context. And you’re not supposed to like him. Through him, you get to see the lay of the land from the perspective of the weakest character when it comes to criminality, and I mean that literally. Barton is weak-minded despite his intelligence, a coward with a greedy heart and the kind of delusional that’s derived from too little of listening to what others are saying and too many conversations with one’s self and only one’s self. He was a man who grew up expecting the world to owe him simply for existing, and when he was not served trust and respect on a silver platter he took it as a personal affront; hence the suicidal thoughts and drastic get rich real quick scheme. He was clearly the first type of criminal mentioned in the prologue, and despite knowing how his tale was going to end based on the synopsis of the inside cover, it was incredibly offputting getting to see the criminality shine through his actions because his thoughts were truly toxic. Quake, on the other hand, while still very much a man not of means but of opportunity was a con man with scruples, and it made him infinitely more endearing than Barton. Quake’s interactions with Barton displayed a more human side to the grifter; he had a heart in spite of his mastery of manipulation and it was often at odds with his more selfish tendencies. Quake was the second type of criminal described in the prologue, and you could see how unfulfilling his journey would end up being in spite of his ever-present charm. The last part, Roslyn’s part, fell flat for me though. Getting her backstory and seeing her come to terms with being a certain kind of woman, and her magical abilities was definitely worthwhile, and I even enjoyed her perspective, especially the magical elements and how they pushed her to imbibe as a vice to dull the world around her. She had no purpose in spite of her talents, no drive, no idea what she wanted to do with her life initially and so merely existed. Her interactions with Barton and Quake allowed her to find purpose and redemption even as the last type of criminal referred to in the prologue, but I was left feeling like I never got the full picture with her. It’s not that I wanted some level of closure, because the epilogue definitely provided me with that. But I just didn’t understand what message her perspective was supposed to impart to me as a reader. However, this was still a fantastic character exploration. A good author makes you feel things about their characters. A great author makes you feel for them, makes you feel things about them because they’ve managed to forge any sort of emotional attachment to you. Krow does this in a very slow methodical way that unfurls without ever becoming a rising crescendo. Even Spokane Falls becomes a character in and of itself, cloying and suffocating all three individuals until eventually they all leave its borders. And it does do in a manner worth discussing. I think the writing was magical. And it’s defining feature is how the magical elements are developed within the story, in this sort of rolling fog that just sort of creeps up on you. It settles in slowly and you don’t even realize it until you’re hit with prostitutes levitating. I don’t think that this was a perfect novel, but for one with such strong literary roots, I didn’t think I’d enjoy it as much as I did. And even though I have absolutely no idea to recommend this to, I think if you’re looking for a read that will make you ponder it’s contents well after finishing it, this one could be a solid choice.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Patrick King

    "Any direction. He didn’t care where in particular. Any little town would do. His time in Ainsworth had turned out to be a great success. The more he thought about it, the more he felt confident he could replicate that success almost anywhere. All he would have to do was let himself be the vehicle for whatever it was people most wanted: revenge or justice or answers or hope or prophesy. He could be a scientist, but he could also say he was a politician, a preacher, an inventor. An outsider with "Any direction. He didn’t care where in particular. Any little town would do. His time in Ainsworth had turned out to be a great success. The more he thought about it, the more he felt confident he could replicate that success almost anywhere. All he would have to do was let himself be the vehicle for whatever it was people most wanted: revenge or justice or answers or hope or prophesy. He could be a scientist, but he could also say he was a politician, a preacher, an inventor. An outsider with some knowledge." A fun book grappling with the ideas of self-creation, the void left by disaster, and the human need to fill in gaps and trust the person who says they can fix your problem. At once a semi-serious version of "Marge vs. the Monorail" and also an interesting, probing look at the nature of the "con," it's a good debut but does have a few flaws. Where the book succeeds the most is it's examination of how the male conmen seem to reliably blame (or if not blame, use as their "Joker moment") the women that surround them. Our main female character is a former school teacher turned sex-worker, thralled to a concoction called Mud Water that helps dull her senses and ensure she can make it through the day. She's haunted by visions and able astral project and every man in her life either turns on her or degrades/disbelieves her--to them, her magic is a personal affront. Unfortunately the last third or so lags behind the rest of the book and it was a bit of a tough one to finish. That being said, great debut.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Odd story of 3 people whose lives intersect in the late 1890s when Washington is on the cusp of statehood. Unpopular and unlikeable banker Barton on precipice of killing himself and puts it off to the point where he sees fire and decides it’s a sign to wait. He then proceeds to fraudulently steal by charging 30% usurious interest (v the legal maximum of 9%) and handing out bank IOUs instead of cash. He runs into hooker Roslyn and afraid she may recriminate him, takes her in (as the hotel she liv Odd story of 3 people whose lives intersect in the late 1890s when Washington is on the cusp of statehood. Unpopular and unlikeable banker Barton on precipice of killing himself and puts it off to the point where he sees fire and decides it’s a sign to wait. He then proceeds to fraudulently steal by charging 30% usurious interest (v the legal maximum of 9%) and handing out bank IOUs instead of cash. He runs into hooker Roslyn and afraid she may recriminate him, takes her in (as the hotel she lived/worked in os totally demolished) and falls in love with her. She is quite wily herself and winds up stealing Barton‘s money and leaving. 2d perspective provided is con man “fire investigator” Quake who basically figures out what people want and tells them what they want to hear. He is happy to blame Barton for the fire, and then steals the town’s money claiming it is not clear which of the cash is counterfeit and he needs to take it to Treasury to verify. Then we meet back up with Roslyn who is a bit of a modern day Cassandra. She sees Barton’s death and takes him home to his mom and runs into Quake. Both Barton and Quake fall in love with her but she has mystical powers that kind of lost me. The entire town so depraved and corrupt. Not a long book in pages but I did feel as if it dragged. Needed a better editing job.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tracy Hoffman

    Late 1800s Washington Territory is a place where anything goes, where disasters can be opportunities, disrespect motivation, and the impossible possible. When tragedy strikes the town of Spokane Falls and a fire ravages much of the town, three people—a local banker who wants to be more respected and important that he is, a conman looking to run another con while he hides from his past, and a woman with a special talent that could change everything if she masters it—seize the opportunity to remak Late 1800s Washington Territory is a place where anything goes, where disasters can be opportunities, disrespect motivation, and the impossible possible. When tragedy strikes the town of Spokane Falls and a fire ravages much of the town, three people—a local banker who wants to be more respected and important that he is, a conman looking to run another con while he hides from his past, and a woman with a special talent that could change everything if she masters it—seize the opportunity to remake themselves. How they do that, who they trust and who they betray, and the aftermath of their decisions is the basis of this quirky, fun debut. The book starts strong and I really enjoyed the first two thirds of the story. The writing is solid, the characters flawed and, as a result, quite interesting. I thought the setting was well established, the character’s motivations believable within the context of the story. These are, in fact, familiar types and Krow writes them well. Unfortunately, the last third of the book introduces an element I don’t think is necessary to the story and I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as the first two parts. Still, I enjoyed this book, was entertained watching events unfold, and will definitely read more by this author. A strong debut and a welcome addition to books about the American West.

  17. 4 out of 5

    agata

    Fire Season is a darkly funny and refreshingly original debut set in the 19th century American frontier. The main characters - a banker called Barton, a con-man Quake, and an alcoholic woman “of a certain kind”, Roslyn - are all opportunists, using the tragic fire that broke out in the town of Spokane Falls to their own advantage. Their paths merge in the aftermath of the fire and change the trajectories of their lives forever. I was genuinely surprised by how much fun I had reading this book. Th Fire Season is a darkly funny and refreshingly original debut set in the 19th century American frontier. The main characters - a banker called Barton, a con-man Quake, and an alcoholic woman “of a certain kind”, Roslyn - are all opportunists, using the tragic fire that broke out in the town of Spokane Falls to their own advantage. Their paths merge in the aftermath of the fire and change the trajectories of their lives forever. I was genuinely surprised by how much fun I had reading this book. The Wild West is a period of history that I never found particularly fascinating, but Krow managed to change my mind with her story. It’s quite difficult to describe this book - it’s character rather than plot driven - but it’s truly a page turner. Roslyn was my favorite character from the start and I loved following her journey, especially because she is the source of the magical realism element in this book. It’s really impressive that Krow created such an entertaining and unique story about a cast of characters where the majority of them is unlikeable. The ending was simply perfect, and if it wasn’t for the fact that it left me with a few unanswered questions, it would definitely be a 5 star read. TLDR: Fire Season is an amazing book about some horrible people. It balances humor and quirkiness with some deeper truths about misogyny and society. Very fun!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nan

    Almost four stars. Three criminal types cross paths in this dramedy. They are the bad bugs that creep out of the wood after a fire in the 1889 Washington territory town of Spokane Falls. The author dedicates a section of the book to each. The first is Barton, the bank manager everyone hates. He figures out a way to cheat the city that's suffering. He convinces himself that he does it all for Roslyn. (We only know that she's a local whore at the beginning of the book.) I had very little empathy f Almost four stars. Three criminal types cross paths in this dramedy. They are the bad bugs that creep out of the wood after a fire in the 1889 Washington territory town of Spokane Falls. The author dedicates a section of the book to each. The first is Barton, the bank manager everyone hates. He figures out a way to cheat the city that's suffering. He convinces himself that he does it all for Roslyn. (We only know that she's a local whore at the beginning of the book.) I had very little empathy for Barton and sighed a sigh of relief when he was finally caught. The second part of the book was dedicated to Dan Kite (a.k.a. Quake Auchenbacher). He's a con man that shows up in Spokane Falls as a arson investigator. His manipulations stretch belief. What damage Barton doesn't do, Quake does. He, too, falls in love with Roslyn. The third part of the book is Roslyn's. (I would have been happy had the whole book had been dedicated to her.) Roslyn is a woman who doubts herself and makes bad decisions because of it. She grapples with addiction, remorse, and guilt over her supernatural powers. Through her, the author seems to be asking questions about good intentions and bad choices, damnation and redemption. What is the best way for Roslyn to start anew? Maybe it's to light a fire.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Josh Mlot

    4.5 stars rounded up. I really, really enjoyed reading this novel of power, greed, and redemption in a world where misogyny colors who gets to wield those things and the judgement handed down on those who do. It takes place in a late 19th-century American West filled with grifters, conmen, and people trying to one up the world around them. Krow's character-driven story features three different (though tightly linked) points of view, and I thought it really succeeded in giving the reader really int 4.5 stars rounded up. I really, really enjoyed reading this novel of power, greed, and redemption in a world where misogyny colors who gets to wield those things and the judgement handed down on those who do. It takes place in a late 19th-century American West filled with grifters, conmen, and people trying to one up the world around them. Krow's character-driven story features three different (though tightly linked) points of view, and I thought it really succeeded in giving the reader really interesting characters who I loved following, even when you don't love them. The plot is more of a flickering burn than a sudden explosion, building to an ending that eschews "gotcha" surprise or big reveal en lieu of a well-earned, uplifting conclusion. I really enjoyed the dark humor and roguish cast of characters, and I tore through this book pulled along by a genuine desire to see where these characters ended up. Highly recommended for those who love stories set in the West, characters you're never sure you can trust, and strong female protagonists looking for redemption.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen Gray

    Three people- Barton, Quake, and Roslyn- collide in 1889 Spokane Falls to disastrous result for two of the three. Barton, an unhappy banker, sees the massive fire in town as an opportunity to steal from the bank with the aim of making enough money to leave and start up elsewhere. Roslyn, who drinks to avoid her visions and is able to levitate, has fallen into prostitution and is rescued by Barton when the hotel where she lives (and he visits her) burns. And Quake. Quake is a con man who has made Three people- Barton, Quake, and Roslyn- collide in 1889 Spokane Falls to disastrous result for two of the three. Barton, an unhappy banker, sees the massive fire in town as an opportunity to steal from the bank with the aim of making enough money to leave and start up elsewhere. Roslyn, who drinks to avoid her visions and is able to levitate, has fallen into prostitution and is rescued by Barton when the hotel where she lives (and he visits her) burns. And Quake. Quake is a con man who has made his living convincing people he's from the government and there to help. In this case, he claims he's an arson investigator but once he figures out what Barton's done....Barton and Quake's stories are more straightforward but she's the glue that binds them. Keep your eye on her. I was never quite sure where this was going (that's a good thing) given the grifting. This sucked me in and kept me reading. Thanks to edelweiss for the ARC. For fans of historical fiction.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Becky Tuttle

    3.75 stars rounded up. I heard about this book in Good Housekeeping’s Binge-Worthy Beach Reads article. The book is billed as a “feel-good read” by the magazine, and I’d probably have to disagree with that description; it’s a bit grungier than that. I loved how this book is set in Spokane Falls with mentions of Coeur d’Alene and Portland. The book evokes an old mining town feel with raging fires, swindlers and a bit of magic (fabulism per the author) in 1889. The three main characters are intere 3.75 stars rounded up. I heard about this book in Good Housekeeping’s Binge-Worthy Beach Reads article. The book is billed as a “feel-good read” by the magazine, and I’d probably have to disagree with that description; it’s a bit grungier than that. I loved how this book is set in Spokane Falls with mentions of Coeur d’Alene and Portland. The book evokes an old mining town feel with raging fires, swindlers and a bit of magic (fabulism per the author) in 1889. The three main characters are interesting- certainly flawed but held my attention. Early on, I had a bit of trouble keeping the characters straight on the audiobook but that wasn’t as hard in the second half of the unique book. Money, betrayal, magic and fire fuel the plot of this book written by Leyna Krow, a former Spokane city tour guide.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Elora Orazio

    This was not the book I might have expected it to be, yet I very much enjoyed it. I gobbled up part one with deep fascination for the flawed character it was following and his downward spiral. Part two was a bit slower, but still emphasized the importance of background for shaping who we become. It was part three and a "certain type of woman" that had feminist undertones and pulled the whole story together for me. The transition I did not expect was toward the supernatural. There is no indicatio This was not the book I might have expected it to be, yet I very much enjoyed it. I gobbled up part one with deep fascination for the flawed character it was following and his downward spiral. Part two was a bit slower, but still emphasized the importance of background for shaping who we become. It was part three and a "certain type of woman" that had feminist undertones and pulled the whole story together for me. The transition I did not expect was toward the supernatural. There is no indication in the early part of the book that there would be special powers or how they might influence the story line. Overall, I would recommend for a refreshing character-focused novel. I received an uncorrected proof of this book from Goodreads Giveaway.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Stroop

    Strange and compelling! It is 1889 in Spokane Falls (soon to be Washington State). A devastating fire has just moved through the town, killing one person and damaging countless buildings. We follow three characters. The loathsome Barton, a banker who sees an opportunity to steal money from unsuspecting bank customers. The con-man Quake, now posing as an arson investigator and called to Spokane Falls to figure out who started the fire. The enigmatic Roslyn, a quiet woman prone to levitating. The p Strange and compelling! It is 1889 in Spokane Falls (soon to be Washington State). A devastating fire has just moved through the town, killing one person and damaging countless buildings. We follow three characters. The loathsome Barton, a banker who sees an opportunity to steal money from unsuspecting bank customers. The con-man Quake, now posing as an arson investigator and called to Spokane Falls to figure out who started the fire. The enigmatic Roslyn, a quiet woman prone to levitating. The paths of Barton, Quake, and Roslyn cross, with interesting results… I am not sure I understood everything that happened in the novel but I had a good time reading it - mostly due to Roslyn and wanting the best for her. The writing is lovely and the story is hard to predict. 3.5 stars.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Martha

    I thoroughly enjoyed this debut, set in the west just as it was losing its “wild” but was still wild enough to accommodate a few grifters who land in Spokane when Washington territory was poised on the verge of statehood. A once upstanding, if totally unlikeable bank manager, goes rogue after a fire destroys the downtown area, then convinces a displaced prostitute to move in with him. She has some plans of her own—if only vaguely formulated—that don’t include him, one of which is to beat her alc I thoroughly enjoyed this debut, set in the west just as it was losing its “wild” but was still wild enough to accommodate a few grifters who land in Spokane when Washington territory was poised on the verge of statehood. A once upstanding, if totally unlikeable bank manager, goes rogue after a fire destroys the downtown area, then convinces a displaced prostitute to move in with him. She has some plans of her own—if only vaguely formulated—that don’t include him, one of which is to beat her alcoholism. A seasoned conman comes into town to “investigate “ the fire and points a finger at the banker. Money disappears more than once and the characters all end up in Seattle before Roslyn, former teacher/prostitute/drunk and the conman, Quake, close ranks for a time before heading to San Francisco. Roslyn has lived her life with a strange ability to see disasters that will be happening in the future. It unsettled her and drove her to drink, but she revises her thinking as she moves away from drink and considers her future. The author has created a cast of richly drawn characters, not all bad, not all good, but a product of the west where they were raised and the people who raised them.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Autumn

    I think you know about a good book like you know about a good melon. From the start, I just couldn't stay focused with this story. At first I didn't know why, but I realized as I read that the characters just aren't ever made real. The narrative voice is distant, and at no point was I getting to know the characters as real individuals with personality -- it was just a simple series of actions and events that meandered the plot along. I'm not generally a western or mystery fan in the first place, I think you know about a good book like you know about a good melon. From the start, I just couldn't stay focused with this story. At first I didn't know why, but I realized as I read that the characters just aren't ever made real. The narrative voice is distant, and at no point was I getting to know the characters as real individuals with personality -- it was just a simple series of actions and events that meandered the plot along. I'm not generally a western or mystery fan in the first place, so I may have found this more boring than a fan of those genres would have. But all in all, objectively, I would call it a sleepy story.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lynne Perednia

    Women of a certain kind have always had to find ways to exist in this world. When one of these women finds herself caught up in the aftermath of a real fire in Spokane Falls, in Washington Territory, she could either end up trapped or find a way to be her own true self. A great novel that captures the feeling of Spokane and the feeling of being a woman alone, having to deal with emotional men and thieves.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    I really wanted to love this book. I love historical fiction, and I'm interested in the fires of the late 1800s. But the fire in this one was only peripheral to the character study of these three schemers, none of whom I liked or cared about. Add on some elements of magical realism, which is my LEAST favorite fiction device of all time, and it just wasn't my cup of tea. I really wanted to love this book. I love historical fiction, and I'm interested in the fires of the late 1800s. But the fire in this one was only peripheral to the character study of these three schemers, none of whom I liked or cared about. Add on some elements of magical realism, which is my LEAST favorite fiction device of all time, and it just wasn't my cup of tea.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Debbi

    2.5 stars. The scams and plots of the three main characters were the subject of this story set in the American Northwest at the turn of the 19th century. Liked the story ok but didn't really care for the different kinds of "magic" that some women could apparently perform. 2.5 stars. The scams and plots of the three main characters were the subject of this story set in the American Northwest at the turn of the 19th century. Liked the story ok but didn't really care for the different kinds of "magic" that some women could apparently perform.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    Disappointing. Not the worst book I’ve ever read, but maybe the worst book I’ve read this year. Uninteresting characters, messy plot structure, and no resolution for anyone. Some books don’t click and this is one of them.

  30. 5 out of 5

    julie Lund

    Plot driven, but with gaps in the plotting. Interesting characters living in a rambunctious historical period. It’s a plot driven narrative, so these characters seem stagnant…they don’t seem to learn or grow over the course of the story, despite the extraordinary circumstances they inhabit.

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