Millie Virginia is a Southern bred young woman trapped in a dead-end position as governess to two irascible children whose mama is a delicate but deadly New Orleans flower. As a child she was orphaned and has no family to turn to. To escape her situation, Millie answers a newspaper ad for a wife. After several weeks of correspondence her new fiancé, Mr. Johannes Drouillard, sends her a ticket and additional funds to travel to the tiny town of Idaho Springs. Millie undertakes the journey by sailing up the Mississippi River and then going by wagon train and finally stage coach to the Colorado mining town only to find that her intended husband was found dead the week before. No sooner does Millie step off the stagecoach than she is bombarded by proposals of marriage from every unattached man in town. And there are others who offer to buy her fiancé’s mine from her as she learns that she is his only heir. The question then arises, was Johannes (Mr. D) murdered for his mine or was it simply a mining accident that caused his death? With the death of her fiancé, Millie finds herself alone and without the means to survive the approaching winter. However, she does now own the cabin and the mine of Mr. D and is referred to by all in Idaho Springs as Widow D. She assimilates to her new life with the help of the one creature who accompanied her on her journey, a goat named Buttercup who faints whenever she is confronted by the slightest upset to her routine. But all is not lost as Dominic Drouillard (Mr D’s brother and half owner of the mine) shows up and moves in. He is determined to find the reason behind his brother’s death since he is positive it was murder.
What follows is a terrific take on a murder mystery. Set on the rough and tumble Western Frontier, in a mining town full of colorful characters who will in turn make you laugh and cry, you’ll find yourself reading ‘just one more chapter’ until you suddenly realize that you’ve reached the end. All of the characters are finely drawn. From our heroine Mille to the likeable Mr. Shumate the blacksmith (one of her suitors), to the Shakepeare quoting miner, and yet another suitor who aims to ‘cook that goat’, right to the swarthily handsome Dominic who will leave you guessing as to his real intentions, you’ll find yourself drawn back to the 1860s and the prospect of finding gold. And find it you will in the pages of this story!
Rating: 5 stars