Two women. Worlds apart. One town built on sin.
When a blood stained letter is delivered more than a decade after it was written, the long buried secret of a violent past comes hurtling back to journalist, Max Eastman, and reminds him of his involvement with two very different women during the miner's strike in Colorado during the Ludlow massacre of 1914.
On the surface, Inez Dubois and Dora Whitworth should never have met, but when they witness a violent murder, an unlikely friendship is established between Inez, a respectable librarian, and Dora who works as a whore at the Plum Street Parlour house, in the town colloquially named Snatchville, in Trinidad, Colorado. Almost by default, the two women are drawn into a violent time when seemingly ruthless men incited violence and sedition amongst a working class who had little or no hope of restitution.
What then follows is a story about the political and emotional ramifications of a town at war with itself and of the ruthless ambition of unscrupulous men who with violence and intimidation used fear as the ultimate control. Overall, the story held my attention. I enjoyed getting to know both Inez and Dora, they are both feisty heroines and deserving of centre stage in a novel which never shies away from the violence of the times and which ultimately focuses on the power of friendship and the overwhelming sadness of betrayal.
I enjoyed this look at a period in American history of which I knew nothing. I thought the author did a commendable job of allowing the story to evolve slowly and the fine attention to historical detail really made the story come alive. I enjoyed it.
Daisy Waugh is a novelist, columnist and journalist. She has worked as an Agony Aunt, a restaurant critic, a property reviewer, and a general lifestyle columnist for many years – most recently for the Sunday Times. She writes a monthly column for the magazine Standpoint, and has worked for radio and TV.