Review by Jaden Terrell
Adventure, romance, and a glimpse into the lives of some of the West's most famous outlaws are hallmarks of Jean Henry Mead's Escape: A Wyoming Historical Novel. The book begins with the arrival of outlaws at the cabin where teenaged Andrea Bordeaux lives with her grandparents. Thinking quickly, Andrea's grandmother shears the girl's long blond hair and dresses her in a pair of her grandfather's overalls, transforming her into "Andy" and leading the outlaws to believe she's a lad.
The plan works--to a degree. Andrea's virtue is safe, at least for the moment, but the outlaws injure her grandparents and take "Andy" hostage. Uncertain of her grandparents' fate, Andy must use all her wits to survive and escape. When one of the outlaws, Billy, learns her secret, things seem hopeless, but he agrees to keep her secret. She comes to believe he can be redeemed.
During her ordeal, Andy meets vicious killers and gentleman outlaws, including the famous Butch Cassidy, who promises to let her return home after their next big robbery. But will he keep his promise?
Mead keeps the suspense high throughout the book, which is reminiscent of a Louis L'Amour western, rich with descriptions of frontier life and rugged terrain. The characters are multifaceted and the dialogue authentic. It's clear the author has done her research, which is seamlessly woven into the story. The epilogue, which ties up the loose ends and delves into the fates of Cassidy and his Wild Bunch, was one of my favorite parts of Escape, which is not only an entertaining read, but an informative one.