3 out of 4 stars
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Steel Madison’s future was set. As a 22-year-old college graduate, he would be groomed to take over his grandfather’s department store business. In the meantime, while his grandfather was still in good health, he helped in his father’s blacksmith shop. All was well until the day, in 1876, that a stranger walked into the blacksmith shop with an offer that thrilled Steel’s father. Author Paul Henry Johnson tells the tale of Steel’s unexpected journey to the Black Hills, Dakota Territory in Return to Deadwood.
Steel had very little interest in leaving his home in Philadelphia to join up with a wagon train in Colorado to finally reach the lawless town of Deadwood. However, his father had dreamed of heading west in search of gold. Still, Steel was sure that his mother would never allow the two of them to take the journey. To his surprise, she did allow it, and he couldn’t let his father go alone. Steel wouldn’t say that he was in love with the beautiful southern belle, Savannah, but he still felt guilty leaving her behind. Promising to return within a year, Steel and his father set off on their journey to the Dakota Territory.
The unpredictability of the wild west costs Steel more than he ever planned to gamble. There is little respect for human life in the uncivilized west. On the other hand, Steel discovers riches in the town of Deadwood that have nothing to do with gold.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I love historical fiction, and this book did not disappoint. The author created a perfect balance of dramatic storytelling and conveyance of historical facts. I was pleased with the appearances of Wild Bill Hickok, Charlie Utter, and Calamity Jane. There is enough action in the story to engage a male audience, and a delicate love story to keep the interest of a female audience. Each complex character is beautifully developed, and no prior historical knowledge is necessary to enjoy this story. Return to Deadwood is rich with lovable heroes, and despicable wild west varmints.
I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. The many grammar errors were such a disappointment. These errors were a constant distraction. However, Steel’s story was so exciting that I was entertained to the last page. Lovers of historical fiction and stories of the wild west will enjoy this novel. Steel Madison’s suspenseful story of love, loss, and courage is an exhilarating tale of life in the wild west.
Editor's Note: The publisher reports that the errors mentioned by the reviewer have been corrected in the final copy of the book
Return to Deadwood
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