“Oh Lor’!” as Miss Millie would say. Who knew there could be such a to-do trying to say “I do” in 1860s Colorado surrounded by your dearest friends, hungry-for-the-reception-food townsfolk, a fainting goat, and a soon-to-be murderer?
Miss Millie Virginia has been Mrs. Dominic Drouillard for barely a day when her husband is accused of murder. While he’s not the only suspect, Dom’s angry outbursts lead the Denver City marshal to put him at the top of the list. That temper eventually gets Dom arrested and taken to Denver City to await justice, western-style. Well, Millie isn’t about to just sit around and hope the good folks of Denver City see that her husband is innocent. She, along with half the women of Idaho Springs, head to Denver City to set things right. What Millie and the others can’t know, is that their adventures are only just beginning.
Denver City Justice picks up roughly where J.v.L. Bell’s first book, The Lucky Hat Mine, leaves off. There is almost too much story for one book here, the author being forced to give abridged, shallower renditions of some events, both big and small, just to get everything in the novel. That will likely not bother fans of Bell’s, nor necessarily should it. What the author chiefly delivers in Denver City Justice is an amusing, suspenseful, well-written story that will tug at your heartstrings and tickle your funny bone. Her fondness for Colorado history and the West is evident by both her attention to historical detail and the way her characters may be full of character, but they are never caricatures or simple stereotypes. Bell’s incorporation of both former slaves and American Indians into her story is also skillfully done; the warmth and respect she has for them is apparent. J.v.L. Bell won a Will Rogers Medallion Award in 2018 for The Lucky Hat Mine. Denver City Justice proves that was no fluke—she justly deserves that accolade and the many more that are sure to follow.