LaVyrle's Spencer's Forgiving is a re-read. Some books I've read at least a dozen times. I think I've only read Forgiving once before, and it was a long time ago, before the HBO show "Deadwood". Forgiving is set in 1876 Deadwood, when it was still a rough Western territory, not a U.S. state. And I was curious to see how the Deadwood of the book compared to my beloved cancelled show.
Sarah Merritt is a newspaper publisher, like her father. She's come to Deadwood, Dakota Territory, to start a newspaper and to find her sister, who ran away from home five years before. She's plain, brave, and extremely bookish. Being one of very few single women (not counting prostitutes) in town, she's unexpectedly popular with the men. She immediately butts heads with town marshal Noah Campbell. And she finds her sister (one of the aforementioned prostitutes) not the least bit glad to see her.
Noah Campbell came west with his family, but chose to live in town while they carve out a living farming in the Spearfish region. He keeps the drunks in line and is an occasional patron of the badlands (you could call it a red light district), but doesn't see anything wrong with that. He has a pretty strong moral compass, and after initially throwing Sarah in jail, and being the subject of one of her scathing editorials, he eventually comes to appreciate her bravery and willingness to help organize the community.
I liked the slow pace of this novel. It felt more realistic than the instant sizzling attraction of so many others romances. Sarah and Noah's relationship develops slowly but solidly. The subplot with Sarah's sister Addie is also a rewarding piece of the story.