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Wednesday
Aug162017

Book Review: Darkling Spinster

Darkling Spinster. Wes Payton. Torrid Books: September 14, 2017, Trade Paperback and E-book, 352 pages.

Reviewed by Deanna Frances.

Wes Payton’s new novel, Darkling Spinster, is a Western-style romance with a hint of fantasy and science fiction. The novel takes place in the 1800s in a southwestern town called Tombstone and tells the story of a thirty-something unwed “spinster” named Reb, who finds that the small town has more to offer than it initially seems.

In the beginning of the novel, Reb moves to Tombstone to live with her wealthy older sister, Milly, and husband, Monty. The first several chapters describe Milly’s goal of trying to marry off her younger sister. Although Milly introduces several eligible suitors to her sister, Reb cannot seem to move on from her former fiancé, who was killed over ten years prior in the Civil War. Milly’s husband also joins this quest and brings forth an unlikely man that does catch Reb’s attention, a handsome pig farmer named Paul.

As Reb and Paul’s relationship grows, he tells her that he is not necessarily who he says he is and admits that he is a writer, originally from the future, who had somehow traveled back in time to the 1800s. At first, Reb is startled by this news, and ultimately believes that Paul is lying to her. As the story progresses, she realizes that her feelings for Paul are too strong to let his time traveling past come between them, and she agrees to assist him with his quest to find another time traveler so that he can return to his own time.

Initially, I was a bit skeptical about how this novel was going to play out with its wide range of genres, but I will admit that I truly enjoyed reading Reb and Paul’s story. As a fan of romance and historical fiction, this novel fit nicely into my range of interest. I was a little concerned about how Payton was going to tie in science fiction, but I believe that Paul’s time traveling past was a perfect hint of the genre to add to the story.

Knowing Payton’s history with playwriting was very interesting, because I could definitely see his background through the writing style of this novel. The chapters are very short and written in more of a dialogue-heavy “scenic” style, which kept the novel fast paced and interesting. I appreciated the easy-read feel of this novel, but I do wish that Payton would have added more descriptions—the novel feels very scripted and dialogue-heavy as is.

Overall, I very much enjoyed Darkling Spinster, and I believe it is a wonderful read for any fan of historical fiction, romance, and science fiction. I believe that Payton’s seamless use of several different genres has created a novel for many types of readers to enjoy.

 

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