by Sharon Sala
Category: Fiction / Historical
256 pages; ISBN: 0-9662696-6-7
Rating: 10/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Denise M. Clark
By Sharon Sala
Loveland Press – March 2003
P.O. Box 7001
Loveland, CO 80537
256 pps. $14.95
Reviewed by Denise M. Clark 2/03
Denise’s Pieces Author Site & Book Reviews
Sharon Sala has once again proven that she is among the top in her field as a best-selling author with her latest work, Whippoorwill. While Sala takes a departure from her usual offerings with this novel, her daring has paid off in this wonderfully witty yet thought-provoking tale of the Old West, the world’s oldest profession and lost souls seeking everything from acceptance to redemption to love.
Letty Murphy is a prostitute by trade and a woman yearning for love by nature, who passes her days working at the White Dove Saloon in God-forsaken Lizard Flats. Another lost soul and town drunk Eulis Potter cleans the saloon by night for a three-beer ration from the owner, totes Letty’s bath water and digs graves by day when needed.
The inhabitants of Lizard Flats come to life when they hear that a real preacher man is on his way to marry their town banker and his sweetheart. Word of the preacher’s impending arrival travels fast on the prairie and before you know it, Lizard Flats becomes a Mecca of sorts to a handful of characters desperately in need of burying, marrying, christening and redemption.
Only problem is, when the preacher finally arrives, he succumbs to Letty’s charms and ends up paying for his sin by dying in her bed. Fearful of being hanged and desperate for help, Letty turns to the unlikely Eulis. Before he can even sober up and see straight, he finds himself posing as the good reverend himself. And so it is that two of the most looked-down-upon citizens of Lizard Flats become its very hope for their dreams and desires. Whether the two of them can pull off the deception before the truth is discovered is the question.
Ms. Sala excels in creating wonderful characters and compelling plot lines. With Whippoorwill, she has outdone herself. Mountain men, gunfighters, dirt-poor farmers and ranchers add colorful sub-plots and detail to this endearing tale, and each of them and their stories could become a novel in itself. And while the style and plotline of this offering from Ms. Sala may prove a departure from her norm, her readers will certainly not be disappointed – Whippoorwill is one of her best!