Friday, March 25, 2016

REVIEW: Sawbones by Melissa Lenhardt

by Melissa Lenhardt

Publisher: Redhook
Page Count: 304
Release Date: March 29, 2016
Format: Kindle ARC

How got: ARC copy from NetGalley

First attention getter: description


From GoodReads:

Outlander meets post-Civil War unrest in this fast-paced historical debut.

When Dr. Catherine Bennett is wrongfully accused of murder, she knows her fate likely lies with a noose unless she can disappear.

Fleeing with a bounty on her head, she escapes with her maid to the uncharted territories of Colorado to build a new life with a new name.

Although the story of the murderess in New York is common gossip, Catherine's false identity serves her well as she fills in as a temporary army doctor. But in a land unknown, so large and yet so small, a female doctor can only hide for so long.

My Thoughts:

Star Rating - 4

Sawbones definitely went some places unexpected for me. It’s got a visceral, immediate story with some stunning settings, vivid characters, and harsh lessons. I was expecting maybe a somewhat grittier version of Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman. What I actually got was so much more….

First off, I have to talk about some of the harsh topics the author wasn’t afraid to explore. Prejudice, murder, massacres, attacks…. You name it and it probably happened. The author doesn’t hold back in her descriptions and some truly horrific happenings to her characters. To some, this might turn people off. Yet, I admired her guts for going there and giving us a more realistic vision of the West than most fiction does.

Our main character was both a blessing and a curse. Catherine is one of those characters that you can’t help but love and root for. Her strength of character and will get her through some trying circumstances that would crush another personality. She faces everything with a grace and perseverance that I admired. She grows throughout the book in very visible ways, changing with the circumstances and events that come her way.

Yet, in the beginning and even somewhat throughout the whole book, Catherine also seems to have a blindspot when it comes to situations that call from common sense. For a gal on the run, she doesn’t seem to be trying very hard to hide her origins and from the law. Her hubris when it comes to her training and doctoring also was a negative. Thankfully, her common sense seemed to develop as the story got going so wasn’t as bit a problem as in the beginning. But boy, it took a while to get that far…

I also have to commend on the author’s scene setting skills. Having personally been to part of the area this takes place in, I felt like I was right where the action was happening. The wind, red soil, and wide open spaces all sounded familiar; I could picture everything perfectly. The author does a great job in balancing her scene description with the dialogue and action sequences perfectly to create a vivid world.

Great world-building, a sympathetic main character, and gut-wrenching, emotional story all make this a great way to pass the time. Though at times the actions of Catherine drove me up a wall, I empathized with her enough for my heart to go out to her when the poop hit the fan on her. Thank goodness that the author mentioned a sequel in the questions in the back. Otherwise, I would have been ticked at the where the story leaves off; I got so caught up in the story. Here’s looking forward to the next book in the series! I eagerly await it.

Note: Book received for free via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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