cover image Martha Moody

Martha Moody

Susan Stinson. Spinsters Ink Books, $10.95 (216pp) ISBN 978-1-883523-07-7

Stinson (Fat Girl Dances with Rocks) offers a dippy historical rewrite with something for everyone. Two women-one, Amanda Linger, married; one, Martha Moody, living with her disapproving father-meet and fall in love in the American West. Amanda tags along with a crowd of hatchet-wielding Carrie Nation followers who have caught a wave of anti-Satan fervor and smashed the town saloon to bits, then flees with a bottle of wine that has escaped them. She runs for safety to the home of Martha Moody, the heavy, redheaded general-store owner, and when Martha washes Amanda's whiskey-soaked feet, the two have their first sexual encounter. Amanda begins writing fantastical (and strangely dull) stories about Martha that include some sexual detail. When her husband discovers them and slaps her around for being a ``demon,'' her trusty cow kicks him in the head. A friend of Amanda's also spots the poorly hidden stories and secretly sends them off to a magazine called True Western Tales-albeit with the risque parts cut out, since ``It's not a salacious publication.'' The stories hit print, making Amanda $100 and Martha famous, and eventually the star-crossed lovers can finally ride off into the sunset together. This is deftly written historical revision, but more than a little silly, and it asks the reader to suspend an awfully hefty dose of disbelief. (Oct.)