June 10, 2007

48 Hour Book Challenge : Mad Maude Rides Again

The first extraordinary Maude March adventure tells the story of how Maude and her sister-disguised-as-brother, Sallie, ended up on the run when their Aunt Ruthie was shot by a drunken cowboy. After a long journey to find their Uncle Arlen in lawless Independence, Missouri, the girls have taken on jobs and have put together a family, of sorts. But Maude is still at large and WANTED posters still feature a version of her face and description. When Uncle Arlen is called away to an emergency out in the Kansas territory, the girls know they'll miss him, but they're not too worried. Not, until, they receive a mysterious telegraph message that makes them believe he's driving into further danger than they expected. Maude determines it's time to ride to Uncle Arlen's rescue, but they aren't expecting a couple of slimy bounty hunters to turn Maude over to the Sheriff.

Resourceful dime novel reader Sallie's been prepared for something like this all along, (all the dime novels advise having a back-up plan even while laying low) and, together with her trusty sidekick, Marion -- and the unexpected help of Black Hankie's gang -- they bust Maude out of jail. Another zany and wild trip through the wide-open West ensues, because once again it's Maude March on the Run. Sallie learns about tonics, quacks, hair dyeing, tar-and-feathering, and the kindness of strangers. She also learns how the public loves to keep a story going, and not because they love the truth.

If you haven't read the first book in this series, begin there, and double your pleasure. Maude March is a heckuva lot of fun. (But she wouldn't take kindly to me swearing like that.)

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