June 15, 2017

Shelley Loved: Badlands by Melissa Lenhardt

Series: Laura Elliston 3
Format: E-Galley
Release Date: June 27, 2017
Publisher: Redhook-Orbit
Source: NetGalley
Genre: Fiction | Historical | Western

Outlander meets post-Civil War unrest in the conclusion to Melissa Lenhardt's fast-paced historical series

Laura's worst fears have been realized: Kindle has been taken into custody and she is once again on the run. The noose awaits her in New York, but Laura is realizing that there are some things worse than death. Finally running out of places to hide, it may be time for Dr. Catherine Bennett to face her past.

BADLANDS is the third and final installment in author Melissa Lenhardt's Laura Elliston trilogy. If you've read my first two reviews of Sawbones and Badlands, you know that this trilogy is centered around Dr. Catherine Bennett aka Laura Elliston. Bennett was accused of murdering a very well off patient at the start of this trilogy. Facing the distinct possibility of being hanged on sight because the deck was stacked against her by rich and powerful men, she chose to flee to Texas and later changed her name to Laura Elliston. Laura's journey has been anything but easy. 

It has been a roller coaster of emotions that has seen Laura face humanities worse scum of the earth, it's darkest secrets which have been hidden by revisionist history, and yet, Laura has not given into the temptation to run back to NYC with her tail between her legs and face the likelihood that she will be hung on sight. As we begin BADLANDS, it has been several weeks since Laura was separated from William Kindle and taken crosscountry by Rosemond Barclay. For Laura, there have been moments of happiness, followed by physically and mentally challenging situations that have often ended in tragedy.

Laura ends up in Cheyenne, Wyoming for a large part of this story. It is a very progressive place where women have the right to vote and own their own businesses. However, Men still outnumber Women by a ration of 6:1. Laura really is between a rock and a hard place. She isn't sure if Rosemond is being honest with her, or just using her until Laura can find a way to make enough money to sneak back to Missouri. She can't expose herself as a doctor, but when there are those in need of her services, she's not going to run away. One of the things readers of this trilogy will come to realize, Laura's path has left a swath of death and destruction in her wake. It's not all her fault, but there are times when she needed to be a little less open about her abilities as a Doctor.

Overall, BADLANDS is a pretty awesome way to end Laura Elliston. Loved the entire series, especially Catherine who was sent scurrying off into the wild west where she became Laura, and other persona's trying to stay ahead of bounty hunters, and Pinkerton's who believed she was a murderer. Laura who stood up to the worst of what the West and Mankind can offer a woman in the late 19th century. Laura who isn't a Mary Sue character who runs away at the first sign of trouble, but stood up in the middle of a dangerous storm and heroically saved a man's life after hers had been turned upside down by the harsh reality of the West. A man who would become her lover, her antagonist, her reason for living, and her reason for putting one foot in front of the other to prove she can do anything any man can do.

Someone asked me if I would offer trigger warnings in my reviews for future readers of this story. My answer is that if you need trigger warnings, then I suggest you go back in your history books and read about the real struggles of those who chose to blaze a trail to the West. This story is a Historical Fiction story set immediately after the Civil War. It wasn't all gumdrops and lollipops. Author Lenhardt has done her due diligence while writing this series. She doesn't try to sugarcoat anything, but dives right into the muck, and lets the reader decide if they are offended or not. I am not being offensive towards anyone. I just don't believe we need trigger warnings, or safe spaces, or dorms that are separated by race, religion, or sexual orientation.

That being sad, I truly do hope that you get a chance to read this series. I also hope you end up loving Laura Elliston as much as I did.

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  1. I don't read a lot of historical fiction, but after your rave review, I think I'll have to check into this series.
    sherry @ fundinmental

  2. Glad to see you enjoyed. Thank's for the review.

  3. Okay this is definitely one I need to grab. I've been loving this genre lately!

  4. Gonna read book one, sometime soon I hope :D

  5. I really want to try this author

  6. This book and the series sounds amazing, Shelley! I just checked, and my library has it so guess what? Yeah!
    Oh, and I completely agree with you about trigger warnings, etc. <3

  7. oh I gotta have this book and I love historical fiction and I really respect an author that just dives into events of history and make it seem real and authentic. I don't like book that are set in Historical Era's and the author wants to make it lighter than it should be. Most past era's were pretty rough for many and wasn't roses and daisies. So thanks for sharing your thoughts on this one.

  8. Oh now that sounds good and so interesting! Great cover, too :)


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