Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Review ~ Gabriel's Atonement by Vickie McDonough

All Gabe Coulter ever wanted was to live a comfortable life as a successful gambler, but a confrontation with a disgruntled cowboy who’d just lost to Gabe leads to a family man dying in his arms. Even though it was self-defense, the only way Gabe knows to get rid of his guilt is to return the money he won to the man’s wife. Lara Talbot sees Gabe as a derelict like her husband and wants nothing to do with him. But as she struggles to provide for her family and makes plans to claim property in the upcoming Oklahoma land rush, she wonders if God might have sent the meddling gambler to help.

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My Review

Gabe Coulter is an expert gambler who never cheats his opponents. Regretfully, one particular man ended up a dead-head, literally. When Gabe finds out that Tom Talbot, the man he killed in a back alley in self-defense has a wife and son, he feels a tremendous amount of guilt. He desires to make amends by returning the money to Talbot’s widow, Lara. 

Lara Talbot is wise to her husbands gambling habit and has essentially been taking care of her son, grandfather and younger sister for years on her own. She actually feels a bit of relief when she finds out Tom is dead because he was a good-for-nothing husband. When her family is evicted from their rented dwelling, the seemingly only way to achieve a home of their own is to ride in the land rush and try to stake a claim. 

Once again Vickie McDonough has penned an intriguing and historically fascinating tale of greed, repentance, forgiveness, and love. I vaguely remember learning about the Oklahoma Land Rush of 1889 in school but I was so much more fascinated with the whole process by the action and adventure in Gabriel’s Atonement.  The pictorial scenes ran like an old western movie across my mind’s eye. I could perfectly envision the showdown in the back alley, and I felt like an eye witness as dust rose like clouds from horses hooves pounding across Unassigned Lands.

I believe this easy-to-read novel will appeal to many inspirational and historical western fiction fans. The plot is sound and mesmerizing. The main characters are flawed but easily likable, except maybe Joline (the younger sister), but her story comes next. The spiritual theme of atonement is beautifully presented. I always appreciate the manner in which McDonough weaves Christ into her stories. 

I want to thank the publisher (Shiloh Run Press an imprint of Barbour Books) for offering me a print copy for review purposes. I was under no obligation to write a positive review, only my honest opinion of the book, which I have done. No compensation has been received.

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Bestselling author Vickie McDonough grew up wanting to marry a rancher, but instead, she married a
computer geek who is scared of horses. She now lives out her dreams in her fictional stories about ranchers, cowboys, lawmen and others living in the West during the 1800s. Vickie is the award-winning author of over 30 published books and novellas. Her books include the fun and feisty Texas Boardinghouse Brides series, and End of the Trail, which was the OWFI 2013 Best Fiction Novel winner. Whispers on the Prairie was a Romantic Times Recommended Inspirational Book for July, 2013.

Vickie McDonough of Oklahoma is a wife of thirty-nine years and mother of four grown sons. She has one daughter-in-law and is grandma to a precocious little girl. When she’s not writing, Vickie enjoys reading, antiquing, watching movies, and traveling. To learn more about Vickie’s books or to sign up for her newsletter, visit her website:

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Since I am affiliated with Deeper Shopping, I make a small commission on the sale of the book when you purchase a copy using the link below.


  1. Sounds like an interesting read.
    Thanks for sharing.
    diane @ thoughts & shots

    1. It's a good book, Diane. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.


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