A Big Sky Christmas

A Big Sky Christmas

Book - 2013
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When an 1873 wagon train of immigrants is battered by harsh storms, outlaws, and Indians, Smoke Jensen and an old mountain man known as the Preacher come to their aid and promise to get them to Montana Territory by Christmas.
Publisher: New York, NY : Pinnacle Books, Kensington Publishing Corp., [2013]
ISBN: 9780786032679
0786032677
Characteristics: 411 pages ; 18 cm
Additional Contributors: Johnstone, J. A.

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bibliosara Apr 10, 2019

William Johnstone was a prolific and talented author of Westerns, competitive to such well-known names as Louis L'Amour, Larry McMurtry, and Zane Gray. After his passing in 2004, the Johnstone family employed an author to complete Johnstone's unfinished ideas and stories. The Christmas series is one of the series that is written only partially by Johnstone. However, the style remains characteristic of Johnstone, and is quite well done. A traditional Western, with gunslingin' heroes facing off with sneering bad guys, there are unique elements incorporated into any Johnstone novel. One aspect that is rather unique is the frequent use of strong female characters. There is also a touch of faith about each one of the Christmas stories, which many Westerns avoid. Still, the violence and revenge of a Western tale are ever-present… and to me, exhausting. Although the novel was well-written, I found the side characters a little too flat, and I tired of the main character's focus on vengeance and 'eye for an eye' attitude. Honestly, if everyone killed the person who killed someone they know, then everyone would be dead. It got a bit ridiculous, although the violence was mitigated some by the token romance between two supportive characters. It also didn’t feel at all "Christmas-y", mentioning very little about the holiday except something thrown in at the very end. It wasn't a bad book - in fact, Johnstone is my favorite Western author! - but it wasn't a great one either. For me, I'm okay with setting aside my interest in Westerns for now.

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