Historical Fiction e-books

RED ROCK OVER THE RIVER by Patricia Beatty



When a new girl arrives at Fort Yuma, Arizona, in 1881, thirteen-year-old Dorcas finds herself involved in the escape of an outlaw from the prison across the river.

Dorcas Fox and her brother Charlie, 10, are with their father, Lieutenant Walter Fox, at Fort Yuma, near the banks of the Colorado River. Their mother dis some years before, so the women of the fort community tend to take the care of Dorcas and Charlie in hand, with decidedly mixed results.

Then along comes Hattie Lou Mercer carrying her Winchester. While she looks a lot older, she is not, actually only 14. Where is she from? Who can find out? Hattie finds a job at the laundry but ends up coming to live with them and help around the house.

And Queen Jezebel? She is the big Yorkshire sow belonging to Oscar Bailey. Oscar likes to let Queen Jezebel run loose on the streets of Yuma City to terrify the other kids. He is a real bully. Can Hattie put Oscar in his place? What trouble can they get into at the Fort? Join Dorcas and Hattie for some wild west adventures!

“The action … is here to spare. Dorcas Fox, who at age thirteen is Fort Yuma's only resident “young lady,” knows her days of boredom are over the day she’s joined by Miss Hattie Mercer who comes to the fort to work as a laundress on Soapsuds Row. Big, strapping, half-Indian and a crack shot with a Winchester, Hattie wins respect for her supposed evil eye, her taming of the school bully and his giant hog Jezebel, and her ugly pet tomcat (whom she won in a shooting match). 

But even Dorcas doesn’t suspect Hattie’s reasons for taking an interest in writing letters for the “lungers” at the Yuma City jail, and when the circus comes to town she finds herself involved in a most unconventional jail break — with a getaway by balloon. Though the author's notes show that her reconstruction of Fort Yuma and its environs is meticulously accurate, the balloon escapade and the final escape across the desert to San Diego don't really qualify as realistic. But, like Hattie, the tale is as strong as it is tall.” KIRKUS REVIEW