“The Three Widows of Wylder” by Julie Howard

The Three Widows of Wylder

Julie Howard
Wild Rose Press (2021)
ISBN: 9781509239054
Reviewed by Haley Kilgour for Reader Views (11/2021)

I had high expectations for “The Three Widows of Wylder” by Julie Howard from the start and it completely lived up to all of them!

The wild west historical setting is first of all, well set up. You truly feel in the time period based on the way people dress, how they view certain things, and just the lifestyle in general.

The plot line is also intriguing. For Clara, you just hope she gets justice for she did nothing wrong. For Mary Rose, you honestly hope she gets justice in the form of getting caught. And then for Emma, you just want to know about her; and once you do, your heart goes out to her. But those are the characters, not the plot. The way in which these women flee their pasts and then either hope to move on or repent is the story. And what truly makes this book fun.

Overall, Mary Rose is by far the most dastardly of the characters. Having murdered her three husbands for various reasons—two of which being too poor or too old—makes her a character hard to like. And her vanity doesn’t do much for her either. Nor does her spinning of lies so that when Clara feels she would suffer for Mary Rose’s crimes in her stead. Mary Rose’s ending of marrying Marcus and having three children—with Marcus’ “ex” wife showing back up, doesn’t feel fitting for her. But then, life isn’t fair. It was also hard to swallow that she couldn’t fathom her mother had died.

Clara as a character is just very paranoid. She’s older than the other two and understands how poorly things could go. At first, you think she’s just that paranoid. But then when she gets arrested you realize, no, she was rightfully cautious. I felt Clara was done dirty overall, but again life isn’t fair. And there did seem to be some hope for her at the end.

Then for Emma. After learning she’s accused of murder and arson after being sexually assaulted, it’s hard to not just want to hug her and cry. And then to realize she’s completely competent alone and in the wild, you just have to give the girl some respect. I very much expected her and Marcus to pair together, as they’re the most similar, but I’m almost glad it didn’t work out that way. Of the three women, Emma got her happy ending that she deserved and this is the one storyline I was happy to see end the way it did.

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