The opportunity to hear from Ms. Russell as part of the outstanding Brews & Prose series (https://www.facebook.com/events/597853560352936/) and the recommendation of a good friend prompted me to read and be mesmerized by Doc. Epitaph is just as remarkable. Russell’s ability to transform what is clearly a huge amount of research into a remarkable, hypnotic and balanced novel.
I’ve often argued against the notion of genres in writing. Everything is an attempt at persuasion. Whether it’s a legal document or an historical novel, the goal is to convince readers of your understanding of the narrative. That bit of soapboxing serves only to say that I found Russell’s account completely whole and convincing. To open the book was to fall back 130 or so years to place where I’ve never been. I didn’t find a false note or extra moment in all of its almost 600 pages.
Please know that I have no great love for Westerns or the now notorious characters who are featured in this novel and many films – Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, etc.. Those two, like an impressive number of others (both male and female) are so richly rendered. That said, I just love a good story well-told. And this, like Doc, is one.
Dreamers of the Day (http://marydoriarussell.net/novels/dreamers-of-the-day/) is next, I think.