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With echoes of Lonesome Dove and News of the World, the riveting story of a pregnant young mother, her child, and the frontier tradesman who helps them flee across Texas from outlaws bent on revenge, even as an unlikely love blossoms.
Texas, 1868. As nineteen-year-old Benjamin Shreve tends to business in his workshop, he witnesses a stagecoach strand a passenger. When the man persuades Benjamin to help track down the vanished coach--and a mysterious fortune left aboard--he is drawn into a drama whose scope he could never have imagined.
The missing coach has a surprise in store: its other passengers include Nell, a pregnant young woman, and her four-year-old son, Tot, who are on the run from Nell's brutal husband and his murderous brothers. After learning of their plight, Benjamin offers Nell and Tot passage to the distant Gulf of Mexico, where they can escape to safety. This chivalrous act will prove more dangerous than he could have expected, as buried secrets--including a cursed necklace--reveal themselves.
Even as Benjamin falls in love with Nell and imagines life as Tot's father, vengeful pursuers are on their trail. With its vivid characters and expansive canvas, The Madstone calls to mind Larry McMurtry's American epics. The novel is full of eccentric action, unrelenting peril, and droll humor--a thrilling and beautifully rendered story of three people sharing a hazardous and defining journey that will forever bind them together.
Elizabeth Crook has published five previous novels, including The Which Way Tree, The Night Journal, which received the Spur Award from Western Writers of America, and Monday, Monday, a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2014 and winner of the Jesse H. Jones Award from the Texas Institute of Letters. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her family.
“A wonderfully transporting tale of love in the Old West” (People Magazine) and “a brilliant, beautiful page-turner” (Chris Bohjalian, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Double Blind) about a pregnant young mother, her child, and the frontier tradesman who helps them flee vengeful outlaws, in a work that echoes Lonesome Dove