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Reviewed by Peggy Jo Wipf for Readers' Favorite
Tina Susedik takes a slice of history and turns The School Marm into a tremendous romance mystery. Deadwood, South Dakota is experiencing all the perks and disadvantages of a gold rush. The town was slapped together quickly to accommodate the gold diggers, bringing banks, shops, and saloons. Suzanna Lindstrom and her sister, Julia, travel to Deadwood to fulfill the contract of the schoolteacher. One traveling companion made the stagecoach journey unbearable as he tried taking liberties with her, setting Suzanna on edge when they finally reached the town. Kingston Winson hoped to shave and clean up before the stagecoach came in, but it wasn’t to be. Not only was he muddy, but he dropped Suzanna in the mucky road as well. Would her view of the men in this town, especially Kingston, get any worse?
I found The School Marm entertaining as Tina Susedik throws Suzanna and Kingston together and sparks fly. The research for this period revolves around the historical fire in Deadwood in the year 1879. The rights and expectations of women at this time reveal the changes that have been made over the years to improve our influence and status in society. The characters are well-developed with flaws, expectations, and virtues. The author seamlessly switches dialog from Suzanna to Kingston so the reader can enjoy the drama each of them faces. I loved the mystery involving stolen cattle, poisoned alcohol, and Julia’s secret employment that puts a wedge between her and her beau. Overall, I was glued to this book and loved the ending as crime and the ambiguous foe unfold. I am looking forward to the next novel, The Balcony Girl.