Gentry offers another pleaser with this light frontier romance that combines a sassy heroine, a penniless cowboy, false identities and the author's typically lively pace. Lark Van Schuyler, who fled her home for a life of independence, is managing just fine as a barmaid in dusty Buck Shot, Okla., until she befriends Larado, a drunken Texas cowboy who gets her fired, then unwittingly involves her in a violent bank robbery sparked by local crook Snake. With a posse after them, the two duped innocents flee separately, only to meet again coincidentally months later in a tiny west Texas town. Thinking to protect herself from the law, Lark answers an ad from a Sheriff Lawrence Witherspoon seeking a wife and discovers the sheriff is Larado. Since he doesn't seem to recognize her, Lark also adopts a false identity, posing as her own demure twin sister, Lark, and endures a very proper courtship by an apparently shy Larado. Although Lark attempts to learn domestic skills, it's her tomboyish cowhand know-how that proves critical when Larado and the town are in danger. Engaging minor characters, witty repartee and the lively tension of the masquerade create an engaging hold over the reader until all true selves are happily revealed at the end. (
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February 28, 2006
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