By Deborah Swenson

Published in partnership with BookBaby

Of Pennsauken, NJ

337 Pages

ISBN: 978-1-09833-571-7

EISBN: 978-1-09833-572-4

Author Deborah Swenson takes on a fun idea: What if you mix science fiction (time travel AND Life after Death), stories of the old west, a portion of classical romance novels, and throw in a good cast of characters?  In TILL MY LAST BREATH, that’s what the reader will find – If you’re open to such genre-mixing, (and you should be) then TILL MY LAST BREATH is for you. 

Our hero Caleb Young and heroine Emily Sweeney are united after each suffer life-challenging injuries – but this review will not give away those particular conditions, because no one likes a spoiler.  The setting (mostly) takes place in a nondescript town in 1880 Arizona, no different than the towns made popular in most Old West novels, complete with minimalist hotel accommodations, a raucous saloon, dusty roads and canyons – and an abandoned mining cabin that would receive a -3 rating on any hotel rating system.

The characters, in addition to our leading pair, include a sheriff of very specific ethnic background (cleverly done), a few villains (in some instances vile, in some instances they appear as if Laurel and Hardy had gone bad), the wise and experienced town doctor, a few fancy ladies about town, and more.  Oh yes – add a few ghosts, too, who embellish the idea of genre mixing even deeper.

The plot spins around our two heroes as they bicker at first, and then learn that each of them has a background that is more than seems possible.  They are encouraged/threatened/assisted by the cast of those around them as adventure after adventure in the old west drives them together, then apart, and so on. As for the time travel, that element appears again and again as one of our characters wishes to return home, suffering disappointment after disappointment as efforts to ‘get home’ are thwarted by desire, by conditions, and by fate.

Each chapter, titled after one of the characters, is told from the viewpoint of that character – through this idea, the author does a nice job of mixing who is who as as this gives the reader an insight into the characters that might otherwise be unavailable.

Honestly, there are a few near-cliches here – but the story and the use of the genres hides them quite well.  In TILL MY LAST BREATH, expect lots of action, a few twists that come about because of the creative genre blending, and a chance to meet some interesting characters.