“Hurd, just as quirky, powerful, and zealous as her heroines, portrays the causes of the past and present in . . . fine, spunky style.”
“I just read Miss Ellie’s Purple Sage Saloon and love it! It’s well-written, well-plotted, and appealing!”
–Susan Armitage, editor, The Women’s West
“Couldn’t put the book down.”
–Cindy Bonner, author, Lily
“The floral-and-feather cover of this latest fancifully titled historical by the author of Miss Ellie’s Purple Sage Saloon belies its gritty portrayal of relations between men and women and between whites and Native Americans. . . .In Kate, Hurd has created a fine, gutsy heroine who is as tough as her time, her place and her men.”
“As a fifth-generation ranch woman, Jerrie Hurd knows the women who helped settle the West . . Her straightforward, descriptive style is engaging and interesting . . .Her stories reveal real women”
–Linda DuVal, Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph
“A well-written, no-holds-barred novel . . . but it is the power of her storytelling that captures us. A truly interesting book with a unique heroine . . .”
“Jerrie Hurd has concocted a tale of adventure and romance packed with action and intrigue.”
When Jerrie Hurd writes a novel about real women of the Old West, you just know it won’t fit neatly into a mold.
In her books, might isn’t always right, the guy doesn’t always get the girl (or vice versa) and endings often reflect real life: They’re ambiguous.
In her first two books, “Miss Ellie’s Purple Sage Saloon” and “Kate Burke Shoots the Old West,” her women characters were strong, independent and far from perfect. Hurd doesn’t detour much from that depiction in her newest novel, “The Lady Pinkerton Gets Her Man.”
The Lady Pinkerton in question is Dayle Dobson, who grew up in an orphanage and made a life for herself as a woman detective by being tough. She smokes, drinks, bets on cock fights and (one suspects) hasn’t fought too hard to retain her “virtue.”
She likes the freedom of being a Pinkerton, but sometimes gets herself into trouble with her outspoken manner.
The book opens with a tense scene where she and two other women are rescuing two young, reportedly reluctant prostitutes from the Tong, who rule the Chinatown section of White Springs, Wyo.
But there are bigger goings-on in this town than sex slavery. The Anarchists are purportedly trying to get miners to strike and shut down the nation’s coal supply, and thus its railroads.
Before it’s over, Allan Pinkerton, himself, painted as an aging womanizer, comes to White Springs.
Dayle finds herself besotted by an actor who she thinks is the leader of the Anarchists.
And a rip-roaring getaway scene at the end is the stuff of which classic Westerns are made.
Hurd skillfully paints a verbal portrait of a woman torn between her past and her future, between reality and romance, between what’s legal and what’s humane.
Hurd is adept at creating a sense of place. In that opening scene, she describes the Chinatown Dayle Dobson sees from her rooftop perch:
“The scene was almost as dislocating as the height. In a quieter moment, she might have entertained the romantic notion that she’d been whisked away to some Cantonese village in old Cathay, complete with the smell of herb shops and opium dens. She knew better. This was the Chinatown of White Springs, Wyoming-a slaphappy collection of makeshift shacks, lining a maze of narrow alleyways and tiny garden plots. The structures, many of them two stories, had been thrown together from packing crates and black building paper. The roofs had been tiled with flattened tin cans.”
Such detail takes research . . . Her protagonist doesn’t represent a romantic attempt at revisionist history. There were Lady Pinkertons. The West drew many women whose occupations or behavior would not have been accepted in the East.
Hurd is drawn to those women and her stories about them, though fictional, represent a neglected cast of characters who helped create the Old West.
–Linda DuVal, Colorado Springs, Gazette Telegraph