Gambling on an Angel

I’ve known Paty Jager for a few years and recently recommended her as a speaker to my sister, who was organizing diverse events for a weekend conference. As a result, my sister has been thrilled to discover Paty’s books. Gambling on an Angel is one I hadn’t read yet but my sister was adamant that I would love it. I did but I’m not going to review it, instead I want to share why I liked it…

First – the writing is rich and textured. There’s no rushing into the story with guns blazing. It opens on the Lower Cascades dock on the Columbia River in 1873 Oregon. As the words flow, I am totally there, over a century ago. Good historical novels are my personal time travel experience.

Second – since I’ve traveled back in time, I  became absorbed into the concerns and hopes of Bas Slokum and Letha Harrison. The physical baggage they haul cross-country for creating a whole new life may only be one suitcase, or a few crates, but the emotional baggage is more complex.  Life was shorter and more precious. Choices were clearer – wash clothes or starve.

Third – the passionate fervor for a cause is the same in any century in the American past. The example in Gambling on an Angel explores the Temperance movement against the Wild West saloons, and as a subplot, the reality of building a railroad to connect this massive continent.

My personal conclusion, after reading this enjoyable book, is that building a physical infrastructure is an important foundation for progress. Societies are established from a personal need of connection to the greater whole, even prior to TV and the internet. But personal fulfillment comes from the connection with individuals and the best connection is when love and partnership is established from those on opposing sides of the train tracks.

This was a love-thy-enemy-for-they-are you type of book. It is wonderfully written and a rich tapestry to read. Enjoy!

About Terri Patrick
Writer of Romance and Memoir. Life is an adventure, take that journey.

One Response to Gambling on an Angel

  1. rose says:

    Sounds like a worthwhile read!


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