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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
Across The Brazos: An Ellie Dupree Novel by James Barnett is a story of strength through a torturous journey to find a better life. The tale opens with seventeen-year-old Ellie Dupree recalling an ardent desire to grow up to be like her father, the one man that she looks up to as her role model. She has to do some growing up fast as they head to Texas for a new life that they look forward to with hope. But such dreams will be shattered as raiders ambush their wagon train, with blood-thirsty attackers mauling the Texas-bound settlers. Ellie manages to reach safety after a long swim across the Brazos River. Contemplating her cruel fate, she vows to find the ruthless men responsible. She will meet new friends along the way who will prepare her to fulfill the vow she has made. Ultimately, she discovers that her mother and sister are alive and are destined to be sold to a certain Don Roberto by a man named Walter Stark.
This is an enjoyable slice of adventure with revenge, guns, and goons in a period familiar to most Americans, involving migration and settlement in the West. As for characterization, Ellie Dupree is a notable protagonist. She has not been molded from the cookie-cutter damsel in distress but offers readers something deeper as far as her character is concerned. James Barnett’s narrative has that Louis L’Amour feel to it, as it effectively transports you to another time and place, affecting you on an emotional level. As you read through Ellie’s painful ordeals, you feel grateful for the comforts of your modern life. I recommend Across the Brazos to anyone desiring a nice mix of drama and adventure with a western flair.