Rogues and Romance: A Robby Hoyt Book Review

It’s not often that a combination of Civil War-era politics, historical drama, romance and family trauma is found on a bookshelf. For Gar LaSalle, his Widow Walk series is one-of-a-kind.

In the first of the series, the reader is introduced to Emmy Evers, who is a widow with two children: Sarah, 10, and Jacob, 5. Integrated into the storyline is historical fiction of the Native American and Pacific Northwest tribes, and the interactions between natives and settlers.

In the second novel, Isthmus, Emmy, Sarah and Jacob are faced again with tragedy. They are returning home to Boston from the Pacific Northwest, on the new Panama railroad – the most modern transportation of its time. Themes of slavery, segregation and expansionism are concurrent with the storyline of the Evers’ and seep over into the third novel.

The Fairness of Beasts brings Emmy and her children to Boston at the beginning of the Civil War; a war that ends up bringing tragedy to more than just its participants. The Evers family can’t seem to catch a break, even with the help of notable historical figures such as General Benjamin Butler.  

While Emmy is dealing with searching for her fiancé, Doctor Rory Brett, her children are left with her sister, Kathleen, who wants nothing more than to be rid of them. After Kathleen decides to make parental decisions on her sister’s behalf, the children run off and get lost in the wrong part of New York City. Emmy is faced with a missing fiancé and missing children at the same time that Sarah is faced with missing her childhood and missing her mother.

The Fairness of Beasts is a complex, tragic love story about a woman’s journey into the hells of war as she attempts to find her wounded lover, and the emergence of her 14-year-old daughter as the young teen explores the bewilderment that accompanies a first love,” LaSalle said in a press release.

The story jumps to a different character each chapter, from the Evers family to Rory Brett to Robby Hoyt and more. Although each chapter jumps not just with characters but with time frames, the flow still makes sense and doesn’t give the opportunity to confuse the reader.

Much like the first two Widow Walk novels, The Fairness of Beasts is no exception to the extended amount of research that so clearly went into the details of each chapter.  Non-fiction characters interweave with the fictional characters, and places and events of the war also interweave with the fictional events.

As a man of many hats, LaSalle takes his passion as a creator and has developed a series that has given his following the chance to relearn history in a mix of fictional and non-fictional plots. Between being optioned for a film or TV drama and the fourth and fifth novels in the works, LaSalle’s Widow Walk journey is far from over.