No Place for a Lady is set in remote Colorado, or the Wild West, as suggested by its subtitle Heart of the West. Maggie Brendan tells us the story of a Georgian southern belle who falls on hard times and answers her aunt’s invitation to visit her in Colorado. As events spiral out of control, the lady finds herself living and enjoying a life she had never dreamed about.
Crystal Clark has been left almost penniless after her father’s death. After snubbing her rich fiancé, she heads to the Yampa valley in Colorado where her aunt owns a ranch. She wants to spend some time there to figure out what to do with her life. Ranch life is very different with lots of men around, hard work and very little regard for the social niceties Crystal is used to. She makes friends and foes very quickly, and acquires some admirers. A freak natural disaster leaves her grieving more, and she faces more financial troubles.
Crystal undergoes many hardships to turn the ranch around, and on the way, loses her heart to her aunt’s foreman Luke. She is not sure if Luke is interested in her just for her money. But she is in for a deeper shock! Will Crystal Clark believe in love enough to let go of her prejudices. And will she be able to forget her former fancy life and settle down on a cattle ranch? Readers will be glad to know that the book offers much more than just the hardships faced by a lady in the Wild West. There is the love angle and also many events and circumstances which test Crystal again and again.
One of the things I found queer was the Mexican maid employed by the ranch. Naturally it follows that there is a lot of Mexican food mentioned. Considering that this is western territory in the nineteenth century, I would have expected Native American characters in Colorado which is far from any Mexican border. But maybe there is some historic connection here that I am not aware of.
Overall, No Place for a Lady will hold your interest, although it follows predictable plot points. The lesson here is to plod on courageously no matter how many lemons life throws at you, a useful perspective to begin the New Year with. Anyone enamored with life of the early settlers in the Western territory will love this book.