Colt - the Texans
by Georgina Gentry
(Zebra, $6.99, PG) ISBN 978-14201-2167-4
**
For fans of westerns, Georgina Gentry is one of the more consistent authors who seem to understand the West and the various factors that went into the settling of the West while still dramatizing the hard lives of those who established the Western States. But this understanding of the West could not save a story that was filled with caricatures for characters, action that was forced and a romance that was overshadowed by all the above.

Colton Prescott has led a more than interesting life - his mother died early and his father was a drunk; he was captured by the Comanche and lived as one of them for ten years; he joined the army and worked his way up to lieutenant due to the Mexican War; he was posted to Fort Cooper in the plains of Texas because of his knowledge of the Comanche. When he arrives at the fort he is confronted with a major who drinks all the time and who has brought his lovely, but spoiled, pampered and rather selfish daughter. Olivia. who is on the lookout for a husband.

Olivia is mean to anyone who gets in her way. She is obsessed with the finer things in life and is determined to use her family's influence to marry and help the man she marries get to the cushier posts in Washington, DC or Philadelphia, so she can enjoy the "society" there. The captain is a West Point graduate who has never seen a lick of action, but wants a medal, thinks he knows it all over an uneducated battle hardened lieutenant and who wants the lovely Olivia for himself. During their first patrol, they stumble on a village of the Comanche and take a beautiful blonde who is obviously a white woman.

Hannah Brownley was taken from her settlement and has been living with the Comanche as the warrior Spider's second wife. She has a son and is determined to return to get him. Spider is a mean spirited warrior who happens to be Colt's blood brother. Hannah has also led a hard life, first as an unwanted girl child, then as the wife of an abusive man and finally as a slave to the Comanche. She is determined and learned long ago that tears do not solve problems.

The tale follows through many perils including kidnapping, fights to the death and in general, just fighting the Comanche and the elements. The Army is made to look a little silly by demanding they use thoroughbred horses in a land that cannot sustain their requirements.

While I enjoyed the story at times, I was completely aware of the shallowness of these characters. Hannah only saw the hardship. Colt tried to see all sides but he was blinded by Olivia's beauty, which allowed her to lead him on a string for much of the book. The other cavalry officers were arrogant caricatures of West Point men. Of course, there was one sergeant who had served with Colt in the Mexican War who was salt of the earth. The conflicts were often brought on by the actions of the characters.

The romance itself had warm moments, but even it was tainted by the actions of others and of the two main characters. Hannah had no self-esteem so assumed all Colt wanted was her body. Colt had no gumption to tell Olivia she was not his and this set him up to hurt Hannah over and over again. By the time they got around to their happy ending, it seemed inevitable rather than welcome.

Colt - The Texans will give some satisfaction if you love stories of the West, but it is not up to a full recommendation.

--Shirley Lyons


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