The Blacksmith’s Bravery, Book 3 in Susan Page Davis’s historical romance series, The Ladies’ Shooting Club, releases November 1.
By age twelve, Vashti Edwards was orphaned and working her way west in saloons. Life in Fergus, Idaho, has given her new hope in Christian friends from The Ladies Shooting Club and an employer who turned her saloon into a restaurant. But money’s tight, and Vashti tries to get the job she’s dreamed of—as a stagecoach driver. Griffin Bane, local blacksmith, is overseeing the stagecoach line and admits he needs more help. But can a woman—even one known to be a good markswoman—handle the challenges and dangers on the trail? And can he brave the beautiful distraction she makes riding alongside him?
Readers have come to love the fictional town of Fergus, Idaho, and the feisty women who lived there in the 1880s. Vashti is one of several saloon girls who found acceptance and sisterhood in the shooting club begun by Gertrude Dooley, the gunsmith’s sister, and Libby Adams, storekeeper. These women began a tradition of defending their families, friends, and property, and this story is no exception.
Vashti and her boss, Griffin, turn to the Ladies’ Shooting Club of Fergus for extra gun power when the stagecoach line is targeted by robbers. Members willing to defend the passengers and mail can ride the Fergus-to-Boise route for free. Throw a little unforeseen mayhem and romance, and you’ll find this journey unforgettable.
Researching the times and the setting for this series took me into new territory. Though I’ve lived in Oregon and visited Idaho several times, I’d never been to the Owyhee Valley. With my daughter, who lives in Idaho, and my husband, I drove high into the mountains to visit the old mining country and the seasonal ghost town of Silver City.
One of the many things that struck me as we wound our way up and up and up the trail was how inaccessible it was. Nowadays a small population inhabits Silver City in the summer, but the roads aren’t cleared in winter. It’s hard to imagine the mine owners keeping those roads open year round, or a stagecoach rolling safely up those grades—or down them on ice and snow, with no guardrails. The people who pioneered in places like the Idaho mountains were tougher than we are, that’s for sure.
Seeing actual artifacts from Silver City also inspired some parts of the stories. A lot of items have been removed from the town and put in a museum a few miles away, to preserve them. Seeing an actual treasure box from a period stagecoach made Vashti’s job more real to me. Clothing, school desks, tools and hundreds of other items people used in the old days sucked me back more than a hundred years.
Would I like to live in the mining country? I don’t think so. But visiting it was wonderful. I hope you’ll find the same delight in my town of Fergus and will cheer Vashti on as she earns the right to drive a six-horse hitch and faces down a terror from the past.
The Blacksmith’s Bravery is presented by Barbour Publishing, ISBN 978-1-60260-796-5. It’s available in many stores and online from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Christian Book Distributors, among others. Other books in the series are The Sheriff’s Surrender and The Gunsmith’s Gallantry.
My next books, coming in January, are Pieces of the Past, a cozy mystery from Guideposts (#6 in their Patchwork Mysteries series, which features books by several authors) and Alaska Weddings, an anthology containing all three of my contemporary romances set in Alaska, from Barbour Publishing.
I hope you’ll visit my website at: www.susanpagedavis.com to see my other books and enter my monthly drawing. And now I’m going back in time to work on another book—the first in a prairie series coming out next year. Look for The Lady’s Maid in October, and you’ll find English ladies braving the Oregon Trail.