Five Star, May 2008, $25.95
In 1881 Territory of New Mexico, young Josh Barnes shoots visiting Mexico rancher Don Miguel Estrada as he recognized the man as a wanted outlaw Antonio Garcia. The sheriff has Lydia Randolph treat the wound. Two days later the sheriff apologizes as Miguel’s father sends a telegram insisting his son was in town to purchase horses.
Lydia, who is the heir to a duchy, is out riding when she sees vultures in the air; she knows from her new brother-in-law Sayer that means their prey still lives but is near death. She goes to help only to be caught by Raul Martinez and his gang who just robbed Wells Fargo. When Miguel learns about her captivity he poses as Antonio the gang leader in a desperate quest to save Lydia’s life.
Although mistaken identity has been used often in literature, Donna MacQuigg provides a fresh look as the hero employs it to try to save the heroine. Miguel is wonderful as he masquerades as Antonio, but struggles with the part because he is a caring kind person and the role calls for a nasty abusive thug. Adding to his difficulty in keeping in character is his attraction to Lydia. Readers will enjoy his efforts to rescue the woman he loves in this fine western romance and seek the tale of Lydia’s sister (see THE DOCTOR’S DAUGHTER).