A Fence Around Her by Brigid Amos

A Fence Around Her by Brigid Amos
Publisher: Clean Reads
Genre: Historical
Length: Short Story (139 Pages)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Rating: 4 Stars
Review by: Myrtle

Having a mother with a past is never easy. For Ruthie Conoboy it becomes the struggle of a lifetime in 1900, the year Tobias Mortlock arrives in the gold mining town of Bodie, California. Ruthie is suspicious of this stranger, but her trusting father gives him a job in the stamp mill. Soon, Ruthie suspects that her mother and Mortlock have become more than friends. Can Ruthie stop this man from destroying her family?

When was the last time you met a man who just felt like trouble? For fourteen-year-old Ruthie, the year was 1900 and the man was Tobias Mortlock.

The town of Bodie, California was once filled with dreams of gold and other fortunes, but for every man that came seeking his fortune in the late 1880s, ten or more were leaving or already gone by 1900—the year Tobias Mortlock arrived. Life changed for Ruthie that day, but she did not know it right away.

Ruthie is a dutiful daughter, bound by the loyalties of family, and at fourteen, she is brave enough to walk into a saloon demanding the right to see her father. Her mother has made a mess of things again and he seems to be the only person who is able to talk some sense into her.

The historical accuracy of this story is impressive. The story line itself is a bit reminiscent of another favorite novel of mine, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman. This historical novel, A Fence Around Her, has all the makings of a wonderful Hallmark movie, but in lieu of that, it is a story that can take you away to another place and time. You will recognize times when Ruthie has made a bad decision, but as a reader, you are always on her side. I was able to justify every decision she made, even though I cringed at some of them. And the relationship and circumstances that Ruthie endured with her mother could very well be an issue in 2016 as well as it was in 1900.

I would have enjoyed a more in-depth story as I felt this one skimmed the surface of the feelings and emotions of the characters. I am a die-hard fan of true historical fiction and will give my all to a story, but it must give something back to me. This story was satisfying and enjoyable, but I am not sure that I will remember it next month, or next year. It’s not a story that after closing the book I wondered what happened to the characters afterwards, but in all fairness, I am so glad I met them.

If you love American historical fiction, this is a book that should definitely be on your reading list!

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