By Sharon Poppen
ISBN 978-1-897442-07-4 Paperback $10.99 from Amazon
Hannah by Sharon Poppen is the story of the struggle of one woman against the cruelty of the early American west. Hannah is the main character of the story and finds herself beset by circumstances that would make even Job cringe. Shattered and alone Hannah holds onto the one thing that promises to keep her going – thoughts of revenge, but when the opportunity for a new life arrives will her need for revenge keep her from what may be a new chance at happiness?
Poppen has a real knack for storytelling, especially for stories set in what used to be the raw western lands of the US. Whether it is digging for gold in Alaska with Abby, hiding from the law south of the border or looking for revenge in Texas border towns, Poppen never fails to write strong female leads who are more than equal to their male counterparts. There is never a wilting rose, even among the “damsels in distress” and Poppen manages to make characters that come to life on the page.
The cast of characters from Hannah is good, but it is not among the best Poppen has written. With the exception of Hannah herself, the characters tend to be a little one-dimensional, which would not be quite the problem it is were it not for the fact that the male lead is the stereotypical heroic Western male, except for the fact he tries to get Hannah to give up on revenge and get on with her life. I can almost picture Jimmy Stewart playing his role (I am dating myself I know, but it is still true). The bad guy is as evil as can be, the brothers all stick together and never fight or disagree.
Please do not misunderstand me, I enjoyed Hannah immensely, but when compared to other work by Poppen it seems weaker than most. It is still a really good story, just not as riveting as Abby: Finding More Than Gold or After the War, Before the Peace. It is still a good romance and an interesting story of revenge with more than one crazy twist along the way. I would recommend it, I would just recommend other work by Poppen first.