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Molly Lee

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An excerpt:

I took John's six-shooter out of its holster and shot the son-of-a-bitch in his right knee,blowing the kneecap all to hell and back. That wiped that snake smile from his face.

He fell out of the chair, shrieking in agony. It was music to my ears. As he lay on the floor holding his bloody knee and making all sorts of noise, I collected the cash from the desk and slowly, very slowly, counted it. Yep, it was $10,000.00 alright. By the time I finished counting, he had quieted down just enough to hear what I had to say.

With the cash in one hand and the six-shooter in the other, I left Larimer with these words: "My name is Molly Lee and I want you to remember it for the rest of your miserable life as you hobble about on your crutches. That's M-O-L-L-Y L-E-E! And Molly Lee can take care of herself!"


Molly is about to set off on the adventure of a lifetime . . . of two lifetimes.

It's 1861 and the Civil War has just started. Molly is an eighteen-year-old girl living on her family's farm in Virginia when two deserters from the Southern Cause enter her life. One of them--a twenty-four-year-old Huck Finn--ends up saving her virtue, if not her life.

Molly is so enamored with Huck, she wants to run away with him. But Huck has other plans and is gone the next morning before she awakens. Thus starts a sequence of events that leads Molly into adventure after adventure; most of them not so nice. She starts off as a naive young girl. Over time, she develops into a strong, independent woman. The change is gradual. Her strengths come from the adversities she encounters along the road that is her life.

We follow the travails of Molly Lee, starting when she is eighteen and ending when she is fifty-three. Even then Life has one more surprise in store for her.

240 pages, ebook

First published March 26, 2015

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About the author

Andrew Joyce

8 books39 followers
Andrew Joyce left home at seventeen to hitchhike throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. He wouldn't return from his journey until years later when he decided to become a writer. Joyce has written seven books. His first novel, Redemption: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, was awarded the Editors' Choice Award for Best Western of 2013. A subsequent novel, Yellow Hair, received the Book of the Year award from Just Reviews and Best Historical Fiction of 2016 from Colleen's Book Reviews.

Joyce now lives in Gloucester, Massachusetts.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 36 reviews
Profile Image for Nick Rossi.
166 reviews4 followers
September 22, 2015
I don't think it would be necessarily fair to describe Andrew Joyce's Molly Lee as historical fiction. Sure enough there are elements of a Wild West historical era that plays out in the backgrounds of the lives that are unfolding as the pages turn, but Molly Lee is more than the aforementioned genre. It's a fusion of styles and formulas that have resulted in a new kind of hybrid of storytelling: the mash-up spaghetti western.

Joyce's expertly crafted Molly Lee is almost like a character study in heroism, replete with flaws aplenty. Choosing to have a female protagonist instead of the usual male-dominated one in these types of genres is the first clue that Molly Lee is unlike any other character you've ever met before. She's stubborn and gutsy, dedicated and passionate. It's funny that these traits are used to describe Molly Lee since they are the usual traits that describes many, many male-centered pieces of literature, but what makes you different is what makes you special.

The story finds Molly Lee on the quest for the man who stole her heart. He just so happens to be Huck Finn, but that is not really that important a fact as the book progresses. He just happens to be a well-known character who also just happens to be the jerk who left Molly Lee one morning, never to return. Upon her mission to find her betrothed, Molly Lee's life becomes a literal journey towards learning about one's own destiny. Starting in 1861, we meet Molly Lee as a feisty eighteen year old. The story then follows an older Molly Lee, who at fifty-six, is still as headstrong as ever. Within these two life stages of the titular character, Joyce weaves morals and lessons on life, ranging from the power chance, and the capacity to start life anew despite suffering many, many setbacks.

What I really enjoyed about Molly Lee was Joyce's ability to flesh out a character that while uncharacteristic of women of that era, he does not make Molly Lee a caricature. She's not Mae West in the Saloon, having men swoon over her while she fires her pistol to show she can. Her actions are based upon her motivation to be happy and find her lost love. It's not any more complicated than that.

Enjoyable and accessible, Andrew Joyce's Molly Lee is a welcome, refreshing take on the fairly staid western genre and breathes new life into a writing style that seems to have been forgotten long ago.

Like this review? Read more like it at www.readingotherpeople.com
242 reviews6 followers
May 4, 2015
Molly Lee was a brief character in Mr. Joyce’s First Novel, Redemption. When we met her, it was only for a brief moment when Huck Finn brought an injured Tom Sawyer to the Lee Family farm in Virginia during the early days of the Civil War. Huck promised to take Molly with him when he and Tom left only to vanish before she arose the next morning. Molly, being a head-strong, determined young lady of 18-years, spends the next 35 years searching for the man who stole her heart.
This book is styled after the old dime novels of the Nineteenth Century – the hero is repeatedly in peril, usually while on an adventure, overcoming unseen dangers by skill, luck, or pluck. Molly Lee, by turn, is: assaulted, rescued by a madam, learns the World’s Oldest Profession, kills a rapscallion, sold to a Cheyenne war chief, escapes, got rich, owned a hotel, was kidnapped and in prison by the time she was Twenty-Two and that is only the first two-fifths of the way through the book!
Life was difficult and dangerously uncertain in the west just after the Civil War. Apparently, one had to live by one’s wits and ability to deal with injustice on a personal level in the mythical West. The life Molly lived and the skills she developed in the first three - four years of her search for Huck prepared her for the biggest adventure yet – developing a Montana cattle ranch and leading the largest cattle drive in history.
As is true for this genre, the reader comes to expect trouble and heartache for the hero in direct proportion to how well things are going for her and this holds especially true for this book. In the hands of a less talented writer this formula can quickly turn dull and unimaginative. Mr. Joyce shows himself to be an author of talent in displaying how a good story can be told in a familiar way without that tale becoming boring or overly anticipated. The ability to introduce a new character into the story arc of a well-known and much beloved American Literary character such as Huckleberry Finn and cause that new character to “feel” as if she had always been a part of Huck’s history is no small feat. The author does so deftly and with aplomb.
This book is fun, easily read, and has depth while not being over-whelming (a trait Mark Twain possessed in his writing). This book is not as good as Redemption, the first book of the trilogy, but it is still a superior read.
What’s next for these two travelers? I understand Huck and Molly are riding together now. Adventure has to follow their trail.
Profile Image for Claire - The Coffeeholic Bookworm.
1,256 reviews106 followers
May 28, 2015
Huck Finn is one of the classic kiddie tales that I have loved when I was younger. He and Tom Sawyer are a naughty bunch, and I swear, there was a time I thought they had a bromance. (LOL) When I read their names in this Andrew Joyce penned book, Molly Lee, I was pleasantly surprised. Reading Molly Lee took me back to the 1860s, a fascinating time when life was turbulent, girls are either treated as slaves or wh0res, and men dig gold mines to earn a living.

Molly Lee was a spirited, gutsy yet naive girl of eighteen, who fell in love with the Lieutenant, the man who protected her family from them Yankees. The Lieutenant, was none other than Huck Finn, while the Captain was Tom Sawyer. Huck was a fine gentleman who didn't take advantage of Molly Lee's family after saving them. To Molly, he was an honorable man, the man she was destined to spend her lifetime with.

But things didn't turn out the way she envisioned it. The next day, Huck Finn and Tom rode out and was far gone when Molly woke up. That was the day everything changed for her. The day when she was abused, abandoned, anguished and soon stood up and faced what lay ahead.

Molly Lee went from one place to another, hoped to catch Huck in one way or another, faced death multiple times, got robbed and sold to the Indians, got rich and burned and damned, got married and widowed and kept on going until 35 years later, she found the one she was looking for. . From an 18-year old country girl emerged a feisty, strong woman who ruled her world.

This had been a really exciting and thrilling adventure - the ride of a lifetime indeed! Andrew Joyce captured the beauty of 1860s and beyond. Andrew Joyce's book is full of passion and action. His characters are a pleasure to read. I even thought about them during the times I couldn't read the book. The ordeals and tribulations that Molly Lee experienced were nothing compared to that of the men and women she encountered. And Andrew Joyce was able to captivate that in this swashbuckling adventure of a lifetime.
Profile Image for Karen Laird.
113 reviews3 followers
May 26, 2015
Molly Lee
I grew up reading Mark Twain’s books. I know Huck Finn, Tom Sawyer, Becky, and many more of Samuel Clemen’s characters that he introduced us to through the years. I watched them float down the Mississippi, rescue Becky, white-wash fences, and all the various activities that got them in and out of trouble through the pages of his books. They were books to grow up with.
It was a delight to have an opportunity to wander through the pages of a story that allowed us to imagine what happened later in the life of Huck Finn. Molly Lee is the second book in the series of Huck Finn after he grew up. In this case, it was more what happened after he had a chance encounter with a young lady at the start of the civil war, in Virginia. Her name was Molly Lee. The story is what happened for the next forty years, as Molly Lee went in search of Huck Finn (for she had fallen in love with him).
Though written by a male author, he presented a wonderful viewpoint of life for a young lady and then woman who was totally on her own, out west during and after the civil war. He presented the story with humor, with compassion, but with the blunt honesty and fort-rightness that a western women of that day would have had.
I found the book to be an easy read, but an enjoyable one. Though there were scenes that could have been very explicit because of the subject matter they dealt with, he handled it with aplomb, and dignity. Because of this, the story is appropriate for YA as well as New Adult. I also found it enjoyable as a Woman’s Fiction, and historical fiction read.
I would give this book a Four Star rating.
72 reviews1 follower
May 16, 2015
Another fun and enjoyable novel authored by Andrew Joyce set in the old west, and briefly using Mark Twain's characters Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer. This time around the story revolves around a strong and adventurous female character named Molly Lee. Huck Finn saves her life and reputation at the outset of the book. Molly being a young and impressionable woman, falls in love with Huck only to find he vanishes from her life after promising to take her along with him on his travels. The rest of the book relates the story of her life with all the classic western themes, but from a woman's point of view. She is smarter, tougher, and more resourceful than the men she encounters. She searches for Huck periodically, but always seems to miss meeting him again. The details of her life's journey are ultimately good and rewarding.
Cant wait for the next book! If you haven't read Redemption by Mr Joyce, and also enjoyed Mark Twain"s Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn I would highly recommend reading it first. Redemption will set the tone for this novel, Molly Lee.
Profile Image for Pamela Beckford.
Author 4 books18 followers
April 9, 2015
I can only give this five stars? I was captivated by Molly from page 1. I felt as if I was right next to her throughout the years covered in this book. Too many times an author will make me feel like that with a character and then the book ends abruptly. Not so this time. The adventures, the trials, the accomplishments of Molly Lee will live with me a long time.

I thoroughly enjoyed Redemption, but Andrew Joyce took me on the ride of a lifetime with Molly Lee. His character development was superb and every action made perfect sense. Oh, how I would have loved to have Molly as my friend.

I highly recommend this book. While you could read it as a standalone, I would still suggest reading Redemption first. Molly Lee is not a character you will soon forget.
Profile Image for Susan Jones.
15 reviews
April 17, 2015
The only reason it took me so long to finish the book was that I was reading 2 other books from the library that were due. But when I got halfway through I could not put the book down and had to read through the night into the early morning hours, even with an appointment looming only hours away. So well worth it! My only complaint was that the ending was too soon- until I read that another sequel is in the works. I am eagerly waiting and anticipating the next saga of Huck and and Molly!
Profile Image for Dann Dioses.
27 reviews
April 22, 2015
Molly Lee is a wonderful sequel to Joyce's Resurrection. Molly is left by Huck Finn in Resurrection and it is not until this book that we hear what happens to her after being left behind. It is a fast paced page turning tale that captivates the reader from beginning to end. I can not wait for the next installment.
221 reviews
April 14, 2015
Loved Andrew Joyce's follow up book. Molly is a great character and I really enjoyed following her on her journey from the Virginia farm and on to the other stops in her life. So nicely written. Looking forward to the next book - that should be very interesting.
2 reviews
May 1, 2015
Andrew Joyce has outdone himself this time. He takes character development and twists to new heights at the same time maintaining the integrity of each character. The interaction and development of Molly in this book, I find to be exceptional.
Profile Image for Barb Taub.
Author 9 books62 followers
June 10, 2015
I was intrigued when author Andrew Joyce took on the Wild West meme and combined it with those quintessential America-defining characters, Mark Twain’s iconic Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. What happens, he asks us to imagine, when Tom and Huck grow up? They’ll go through the Civil War—Confederates, of course—and that crucible will undoubtedly change the men they become. Their tale is told in Joyce’s first book, best-seller Redemption. In that novel, there is a short encounter with a beautiful 18-year-old, Molly Lee, rescued by Huck from Yankee rapists before he leaves to continue his life.

Molly’s story is told in Joyce’s next book, Molly Lee. Infatuated with Huck after he saves her and her family, Molly asks to go with him but is told, “Miss Molly, there’s something you’ve got to know about men. I mean, honorable men. And that is, when a man accepts another man’s hospitality, he does not ride out the next day taking that man’s daughter with him. Do you understand what I’m sayin’?” Molly, who doesn’t understand anything except her feelings for Huck, is devastated when she gets up the next morning to find that he and Tom have left.

She decides to catch up to Huck, and sneaks away from her family’s farm. Almost immediately, she’s assaulted, raped, and nearly murdered. Worried that Huck will no longer want her, but unwilling to return to her family because of her “shame”, Molly decides that dwelling on what she’s lost would continue to give her rapists power over her. “I realized that as long as I carried on about what has happened, these men would still be having their way with me.” She can’t think of anything else to do other than continue her search for Huck. That quest provides the background to the next thirty-five years of Molly’s life.

Although she finds in later years that Huck is the subject of so-called Dime Novels presenting sensationalized versions of his exploits, it’s Molly’s life that actually reads more like a Dime Novel as she hits almost every Wild West trope. Captured by a Cheyenne chief, she’s befriended and helped by one of his other wives. As she proceeds to make and lose fortunes, she’s aided at almost every point by kind strangers. With each setback, Molly follows that first rule she set against self-pity, and simply moves on to make the best of whatever life throws her way. From working as a whore to owning a saloon, from going to prison to running a ranch, Molly plays to win with the cards she’s dealt.

In some ways, Molly Lee’s story reminded me of Miss Kitty in the old western, Gunsmoke. Although the details are glossed over, Miss Kitty’s background and actual position as owner of a saloon complete with “dancing girls” means that she’s running a brothel. Her decades-long attachment to Marshall Dillon is—if perhaps, not exactly unrequited—certainly not going to include a wedding ring. But that’s where Molly is different. Clearly, the only “fate worse than death” she can think of is…well, death. If she’s kidnapped and abused, she’ll just bide her time until she can escape. If the man she “hungers after” leaves, she’ll follow him. If he’s killed, she’ll mourn and move on. But either way, she knows that to give up is to give others the ultimate power over her destiny.

In a character-driven story such as this, I really admire the way author Andrew Joyce lets us see how Molly changes, adapts, and grows over the decades. While the plot leans more toward the fantastical chances and exploits of those dime novels, the pace and storyline kept me rooting for Molly. Plus Joyce’s beautifully spare description and low-key emotion seem perfectly suited to the pragmatic Molly.

If westerns as a genre are about seizing control of our own fate—the ultimate American-defining trope—then maybe, just maybe, Molly Lee is as American as a western could possibly be. Certainly, I think it deserves every one of those five stars. And I can’t wait to see which tropes Andrew Joyce will take on, redefine, and make his own when the third book in the series explores what’s next for Molly Lee and Huck Finn.

**I received this book for free from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**
Profile Image for C.J. Anaya.
Author 25 books511 followers
June 25, 2015
This adventure is so unlike anything I have ever had the pleasure of reading, and now I've discovered this craving for Wild West type books thanks to Andrew Joyce's fabulously entertaining novel. The book closely catalogs the dangerous and exciting adventures of Molly Lee, an innocent young girl in the beginning, but one with fire, passion, and eventually a wisdom beyond her years toward the end.

There are so many things to make note of in this novel. One is the marvelous development we are privy to with Molly's character. With each new adventure, challenge or obstacle we can see the growth she makes and the wisdom she gains though we are also exposed to how truly vulnerable and lonely she finds herself at times. Not one to complain or wallow in her dire circumstances, she always finds a way to rise above the trials while keeping hold of her kind heart and her natural love and concern for others.

At first I wasn't quite sure what to make of her, simply because she went from having her virtue saved by Huck Finn to jumping right into a situation where her virtue was taken while chasing after him. It made me throw my hands up in the air and say, "Well, that was a waste!" but I didn't, at that point, fully understand what the author was doing. He took a young woman with very little understanding of how the world worked at that time, and eventually presented the reader with a woman who was not only wise to the ways of the world, but was fully capable of taking care of herself and the legacy she eventually built for her step-daughter. For a woman to be able to accomplish so much without relying on a husband, well, it simply wasn't done during that time period. Not that the women weren't hardy back then, but providing a living without a man around was much more difficult in that era.

Another thing I want to mention is the incredible amount of research that went into this and the wonderful attention to detail. The author made me feel as if I was there driving cattle with Molly and her drovers. The culture, customs, and settings were described so thoroughly that I could picture everything with perfect clarity. There was never a point during this book where I felt like it might be a good time to stop and make dinner or do laundry etc. I had to, of course, but that doesn't mean I was happy about it. I simply wanted to read until the very end, and once I finished, I felt a little bereft. I'd grown so attached to Molly. This woman is someone I want in my corner, and I can't imagine anyone reading this and not falling in love with her.

There are parts of Molly's adventures that may be difficult for some sensitive readers to absorb. She is raped, and must live for a time as a lady of the night in order to get by, but the author does not give any details when it comes to the rapes or any sexual details involving her temporary work as a prostitute. It is mentioned and then the story moves on from there. Very tastefully done, and I appreciated that. I also appreciated the fact that the author didn't shy away from the harsh realities of what women had to do to survive in that era. It was a truthful portrait of her struggle for survival and a tricky balance to attempt, but the author navigated it in a way that kept the book PG-13. Beautifully done, there.

Great pacing, wonderful characterization, chilling villains and lovable secondary characters. A perfect recipe for a fantastic adventure. So the real question is this: Does she ever succeed in finding Huck Finn? I guess you'll have to buy the book and read it to find out.

I think anyone who loves a good Wild West adventure and a strong female character is going to fall in love with Molly Lee. I highly recommend it to pretty much anyone, and I want the next book...NOW!...um...please.
Profile Image for Colleen Chesebro.
Author 11 books68 followers
May 17, 2015
*A copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review, which follows.

The first time 18-year-old Molly Lee meets “Lieutenant” Huck Finn and “Captain” Tom Sawyer it is 1861. The Civil War has just begun to rear its ugly head. Her mother nurses Tom Sawyer back to life when a fever sets in.
When a Yankee soldier attempts to commandeer Molly’s virtue and cause harm to her family, 24-year-old Huck Finn comes to their rescue. Molly falls head over heels in love with the dashing Huck. She begs to be allowed to follow him when he leaves her family farm.

Huck strongly advises her not to come with him because, “He considers himself an honorable man, and honorable men don’t accept the hospitality of another man, and then ride off with the man’s daughter.”

Molly begs and begs, finally wearing Huck down long enough to say that she can accompany him the next morning. When Molly awakens that fateful day, on July 23, 1861, it is to the realization that the two men have left without her. Not to have her love denied, Molly saddles a horse and sets forth on a trip of a lifetime to find the man she loves.

The adventures of Molly Lee take her from Virginia to Missouri and all the way to the Montana Territory. Spanning her life from 18 years to 56 years, this is her story. From whore houses to school rooms, Indians to cattle drives, Molly Lee pulls you into the saddle of the life adventures of a woman searching for the man she loves.

I loved the way the Andrew Joyce portrayed Molly. She is a strong, independent woman, not afraid to say what she thinks. When Molly loses a lover in a catastrophic fire, I thought she had reached the end of her rope. Instead, she finds the courage to go on with her life, always searching for the elusive man of her dreams, Huck Finn.

The drive and ambition to find Huck Finn take Molly through many challenges and heartaches. To me, her ability to live by her own wits and survive, reminded me of the heroes from the old fashioned Western books I read as a young woman myself, written by Louis L’Amour.
Joyce writes in an easy, smooth, flowing manner. I especially enjoyed the portrayal of the cowboys and the cattle drive, as I experienced some of the same practices still in use today when I worked for a Montana cattle ranch some years ago. A few times, I know I felt the rush of the wind, and tasted the dust in my mouth, the descriptions were so perfect.
It should be noted that this book is a sequel to “Redemption,” also written by Joyce. However, not having read the first book, I felt this book stood alone in its own rights as an excellent read.

I enjoyed this rough ride through American western history, as seen through the eyes of a woman. Molly’s unique perspectives on life give credence to the belief that if you want something bad enough, you will eventually get it. Oh, and the best part is… Joyce is writing another book called, “Huck and Molly!” I can’t wait to read it!

Realistic Characterization: 4/5
Made Me Think: 3/5
Overall enjoyment: 4/5
Readability: 5/5
Recommended: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4.5
Profile Image for Amy (Lost in a Good Book).
718 reviews68 followers
June 30, 2015
Note: I was provided with a copy of this book from the author for review.

Initially I found it hard to believe and get into, especially since it practically opens with Molly abandoning her family and running after Huck. But as the novel progressed and you see Molly change and grow, you take the story for what it is, instead of trying to mould it to your expectations.

The narration mimics the voice of the south which brings Molly’s background to light, and you see her voice gradually refine itself as she travels more and is exposed to new things, her experiences shaping who she becomes. Being set in the 19th century there are a few phrases and events that help place the novel, with only a few modern phrases standing out. Overall Joyce has done a solid job in capturing the historical feeling while still remaining focused on Molly.

The story flows easily, once Molly leaves her home she gets caught up in one thing or another which moves the story on. In the beginning it seems like she moves from one drama to the next, but these calm down and the story settles into a stronger narrative. While the continual problems and drama remain, it no longer reads as problematic with better narration to support it. Each new incident is spaced much better time wise for the most part, and they are varied enough from one another and realistic for the environment and era which makes it alright.

With the amount of things that happen to Molly it is interesting to see her reaction. She takes things in her stride most of the time, things fall in her lap and while bad things happen she picks herself up fairly quickly and trudges on. For someone her age and inexperience she accepts changes reasonably well, and she soon learns to listen and make things turn to her advantage.

She is a bright enough girl, she reads like a naïve and love struck child at first with a few smarts but not many, but she seems to know what she is doing, even if her strengths and weaknesses aren’t spelled out for the reader. To understand a lot of who Molly is Joyce makes us read between the lines, her determination and decision to make herself a new woman is what drives her and she makes her life her own.

Joyce paces the narrative well, capturing three decades with the right speed, jumping when necessary and skipping the right amount of time, making it work with the story with style. Having this long time span also allows a great comparison between the Molly who starts and the one who finishes the story. Seeing her life and the person she has become is great, and it is good to see there are still traces of the teenager all those years later.

This is a sequel but it is of little consequence. The story reads well on its own, and the ending can be read as a prelude into a third, but also as a nice ending with possibilities open to readers. Joyce brings the female voice to life and makes Molly’s evolution from a teen to a middle aged woman gracefully and with surprising insight.

A longer version of this review was posted on my blog https://lostinagoodbk.wordpress.com/2...
Profile Image for Don Sloan.
Author 9 books9 followers
August 23, 2015
Molly Lee is just the kind of strong, resourceful female protagonist you've been looking for. In this good old-fashioned western, she shines through as both the most feminine and yet the baddest of the bad. It's a combination that, in the hands of a lesser author, would come across as too complex to handle. But that's not the case here.

Molly goes from wide-eyed, lovestruck teenager to middle aged rancher in this saga that follows her through one harrowing situation after another. But getting there is half the fun, and the worst mistake you can make about Molly Lee is to underestimate her.

She leaves her home, her parents, and the relative security of her childhood home to go in search of Huck Finn (yes, THAT Huck Finn, all grown up and a soldier in the Civil War). Inexplicably, he leaves Molly one morning after promising to take her with him. And so, she lights out after him, beginning her wide-ranging quest to consummate her true love.

Along the way, she becomes a prostitute, a wife to an Indian chief, a saloon owner, and a murderer, twice over. Don't get me wrong; Molly was roundly justified in both these killings. But, eventually, the law catches up to her, and she goes to prison for five years.

The writing in this book is terse, but very descriptive. In one scene, Molly, as owner of the Spicy Lady saloon in Denver City, has designs on her well-built, handsome bouncer, John Stone:

"I started to imagine John and me spending the rest of our lives together. However, whenever I brought up the subject of us living together in San Francisco, he would grunt and pull his hat down a little lower, so I couldn't see his eyes."

About halfway through the book, she meets and marries Jeff McMasters, who owns a 10,000-acre cattle ranch in Montana. Through a series of circumstances beyond her control, Molly becomes owner of the Bar M ranch and organizes an epic cattle drive in which she, her adopted daughter Betty, and 40 cowhands herd 12,000 steers from Montana to Abilene, Kansas.

And what would a good western be without cowboys, Indians, cattle rustlers, horse thieves and harsh frontier justice that leaves more than a few outlaws shot dead in Molly's wake. Even the cattle become characters in this excellent book reminiscent of Lonesome Dove.

"A few of their steers made their way to the front, but our steer held his lead position. Lem had named him Caesar, because, like Julius Caesar, he was leading his legions into battle. A battle of searing heat, swollen rivers and miles and miles of dust. The Great Herd was now complete."

Whether Molly and her daughter make it back to the ranch in one piece, and whether Molly ever finds Huck Finn, I leave to you, as the reader to find out. I certainly recommend Molly Lee highly to anyone wanting a good, fast-paced piece of fiction. And I, like many others, look forward to reading the third book in this Old West trilogy.
Profile Image for Lizzy Baldwin.
216 reviews7 followers
October 22, 2015
So there’s a little synopsis of the first book to give you an idea where we’re starting off from. The book of Molly Lee spans her astonishing life as she ventures through the western frontier during the late nineteenth century. We follow her as she searches for Huck Finn whilst also discovering a little more about herself and getting into a number of perilous adventures. Throughout the book the author thoroughly describes the considerable character change of Molly; from sweet and naïve, a just eighteen-year-old adolescent to valiant heroine and I bloody loved her from the beginning. Her personality and grit meant that from the very first page turn I was willing her to succeed and wishing that she would finally get to the man who saved her from a fate worse than death, as she puts it. I thought the writer really went to town with this character, gutsy, not afraid to say what she thinks and very inspiring I take my hat off to Joyce for creating such a strong and authentic female protagonist.

I thought the long spanning time distance of the plot made for a really intriguing and detailed read. The adventure of Molly Lee that takes her from Virginia right the way to Montana span a life from eighteen to fifty six years young allowing for a truly extensive view of our main female protagonist. We experience the West in an invigorating and all-inclusive manner, whilst visiting cattle drives, school rooms and even a whore house or two all the while Miss Molly is just searching for the man that she ultimately loves. Often our beloved hero is in trouble, but written as like the old dime novels of the Nineteenth century we see Molly overcoming such traumas in three ways, luck, skill or her gift of the gab. The plot is overwhelmingly detailed and rockets along with a fast pace and the action is described in a detailed but wholly original fashion.

Technically the writing style is even and slick with description that transports you the days of the cowboys and their cattle drives. The descriptions were heady and evocative and I could almost feel the sun beating down on my shoulders, it was a joy to read. For me, this book easily stands on its own two feet as a standalone novel. I think the book weaves a brilliant line of stories and manages the highs and the lows for the main character impeccably well. Sometimes books can become a little tedious especially when spanning such a long time period but it is really handled well to keep the excitement coming so you barely have time to look up before you want to get back in and keep reading. Spot on!

*I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review*
Profile Image for Tina.
Author 8 books107 followers
March 18, 2017
Well-written and grippingly entertaining, Molly Lee held my interest from beginning to end.

Set in the mid-1800s, we meet Molly Lee as an eighteen-year-old living on a Virginia farm with her parents, sister, and brothers. When Huck, a young Confederate deserter, happens by their farm with his wounded comrade, Tom, her family gives them shelter and sustenance. Molly Lee quickly falls in love with Huck and makes him promise to take her with him to Missouri when he leaves. But she awakens the following day to discover that he has reneged on his promise. Hurt, angry, and having no idea where Missouri is or which direction to go, she sets out on horseback determined to find him. Thus begin the adventures of Molly Lee.

A young female in nineteenth-century rural America would have needed courage, fortitude, and firm resolve to thrive in the best of circumstances. Molly Lee possesses all of these, along with an iron will and an inherent ability to read people accurately and respond accordingly. These qualities are her saving grace as she encounters robbers, rapists, and murderers in her search for Huck. Deterred time and again along her journey, she also meets kind and considerate people who care for her when ravaged and who help her grow in stamina and wealth.

Among these folks are Native Americans, most of whom befriend her. The author is to be applauded for his considerate portrayal of these indigenous peoples. Played out against the background of colonialism and an interspersed mention of the Civil War, Molly Lee encounters several tribes who eventually become extended family.

Andrew Joyce has penned an action-packed and enthralling tale of an eighteen-year-old farm girl’s tumultuous and potentially devastating journey to womanhood. This is a story all teenagers would benefit from reading. Aside from the few instances of outright killing, Molly Lee and her male counterparts are role models from whom today’s teens could take a few lessons. The “good” and “bad” characters are readily discernable, and the qualities of the “good” ones – e.g., compassion, kindness, moral rectitude – are to be emulated.

Although I haven’t read the author’s first novel in this series – Redemption: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer -- I expect that it’s as engrossing as Molly Lee. And the third book – Huck and Molly – which is in progress, should prove equally captivating.
Profile Image for N.N. Heaven.
Author 6 books1,796 followers
September 28, 2015
Molly Lee is a young woman when the charismatic Huck Finn (yes, that Huck Finn) saves her life and steals her heart. She falls instantly in love and is heart-broken when Huck disappears and doesn’t take her with him. She does what any love-sick woman does: heads out into the great big world to find her man.

Along the way, she is attacked, befriends a madam and works in a bordello, sold to a Indian war chief, kills a dirtbag, ends up in jail and so much more. Does that keep Molly down? No way! She’s got more backbone than all the men in the Civil War. It’s only when she least expects it, Huck appears.

I’m a HUGE Mark Twain fan and Huck Finn is one of my favorite literary characters. I was a little nervous reading this book as I’ve read many adaptations of Huck Finn and they were all disappointing. I was not disappointed with this book.

Andrew Joyce did a seamless portrayal of Huck Finn and I was really impressed. I had to remind myself that I was not reading Mark Twain. Molly Lee is historically accurate and each character is multi-faceted. I loved the imagery and non-stop action of this book and I highly recommend it!

I have to go read Redemption and wait patiently for the next book by Andrew Joyce.

Favorite Character: Molly Lee, of course. I loved everything about her from her ability to get into bad situations to determination to find her beloved Huck Finn. She’s a spunky woman and I was so sad when her story ended I want more!

Favorite Quote: “It was a good thing I didn’t cotton to foolishness like being carried over the threshold and such.” ~Molly

My Rating: 5+ stars
Profile Image for Laurie.
617 reviews129 followers
June 19, 2016
I read Resolution: Huck Finn’s Greatest Adventure first and absolutely loved the character of Molly Lee. It was then a no-brainer to read and review her story, Molly Lee, when the opportunity arose. I loved this book! Molly Lee is a tough cookie with a spirit and sense of self that I found refreshing, humorous, and enchanting. The narration of the story is more “tell” than “show”, similar to the writing style of Resolution. The fast pace paired with the almost lackadaisical, laid-back, old-timey story-telling works exceptionally well in this instance. Molly faces and endures many horrific experiences – rape, kidnapping, brutality and more – but she bides her time, plans, and then pulls herself out of whatever mess it is. She is sneaky that way.

None of the challenges she endures are described in graphic detail. With his economical word selection the author instead focuses on how Molly chooses to learn from the experiences in order to make herself stronger and less vulnerable in future crisis. Her choices are not without consequences, but overall, her decisions become more logical and better executed as her life progresses.

It was great fun reading Molly’s story and learning how Huck’s tenacious traveling companion and lover in Resolution came to be molded into the strong resilient woman that possessed grace and stamina in spades, even under the most trying circumstances.

Andrew Joyce is a writer to watch; his historical fiction feels authentic. I get totally lost in the adventures and hate for them to end.

Reviewed by Laurie-J
Profile Image for Charlie.
423 reviews23 followers
July 8, 2015
This book picks up where Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, masquerading as a Confederate lieutenant and captain, respectively, left behind Molly Lee after saving her family from Union soldiers intent on plundering.

Not for one minute did I have pause to regroup as I was reading. Just like Redemption, Molly Lee is fast-paced. I was so intrigued that there were a few times that Molly ended up in the same places Huck had been and learned of his exploits and I was wondering if she’d ever find him like she set out to do.

I was also incredibly blown away by the amount of money that Molly comes into and loses over and over again through her ventures. I can’t imagine that much money during the Civil War time, but somehow she is always on the high side of luck…and then right back in the pits on the downward slope.

It seems Molly’s life is just one sad story after another, but it turns out that she got more than she bargained for when she meets Jeff McMasters, and he winds up leaving her more than she could ever have imagined.

Molly Lee meets a lot of interesting people along the way, and she ends up one hardened, experienced woman. In the end, she gets the surprise of her life.

I can’t say much more than that, except that I’m wondering what will come next.
Profile Image for Jessica.
97 reviews
September 4, 2015
Originally published at Novel Escapism

It’s 1861 and Molly Lee has just turned eighteen-years-old. Her life takes an unexpected turn when she meets two Confederate deserters. When one them, Huck Finn, saves her from some Union soldiers, she instantly falls in love and vows to leave with him. But when Huck leaves without her early the next morning, Molly begins a thirty-four-year journey filled with danger, adventure, new beginnings, and hardship. I have to admit I almost put this book down after the first couple chapters. It is blunt, crass and somewhat uncomfortable to read. Yet, I kept reading. I can’t quite articulate what exactly it is, but there is something compelling about the story. It is fast-paced and dramatic. It is character-driven and has a Western dime store novel quality. By the end, I can say this is a good read.

*Disclosure: I was provided a free copy of this novel with a request for an honest review.*
Profile Image for S.K. Gregory.
Author 121 books198 followers
July 22, 2015
Molly Lee starts life out as a simple farm girl until she falls for a man named Huck. When he leaves without taking her with him, Molly decides to set out after him. What starts out as a young girls crush, becomes an adventure and not always a pleasant one. Along the way though, Molly learns how to survive and make something of herself.
Molly is a strong, tough character who takes what life throws at her on the chin and keeps going. She is smart and soon becomes business savvy. The story was well written and complelling. It drew me in and I wanted to read more about Molly Lee. I would definitely recommend this book.
Profile Image for Emily.
10 reviews
March 31, 2015
Kudos to Mr. Joyce for Molly Lee! Loved her, loved the entire story. At a key time in her young life, 18 year-old Molly Lee falls head over heels in love with a young Huck Finn who saves her life. When he leaves her behind to pursue his own path, a spirited and determined Molly Lee takes off after him. On that journey, she meets the good, the bad, and the ugly . . . and she takes care of the latter two with fierce justice. What a great ride! Take a road trip with Molly, you won't regret it!
Profile Image for Bob.
301 reviews2 followers
December 30, 2017
It's official, he's got me hooked on this series. I figured a woman's story with minimal involvement by Twain's celebrated characters might be less interesting, but I misjudged Andrew Joyce's skill in making Molly speak with her own voice and that voice being of strong personality . Looking forward to the next installment.
Profile Image for Malou.
4 reviews
March 31, 2015
Molly Lee! The sequel to Redemption was well worth the long wait!! I traveled alongside Molly from the very first page to the very last one . . . . feeling her pain, her sadness, her joy. Well done, Mr. Joyce!
453 reviews1 follower
May 21, 2015
I was given this book by the author for an honest review! I am not into reading westerns or historical books! But this book pulled me in from the beginning! It was a great adventure and I loved it!
14 reviews7 followers
June 16, 2015
Received copy for a honest review.I really enjoyed reading Molly Lee. From page 1 you become addicted to Molly as she goes in search of Huck Finn after he broke his promise to her. You will literally follow Molly through all her heart ache and pain as she searches for Huck.
Profile Image for Mandy Sawyer.
3,796 reviews26 followers
September 16, 2015
Molly Lee review

This book is well written and flows nicely. I personally found it very different from all the other genre that I usually read. It's realistic of what would of happened in the 1800's so don't be looking for your fluffy HEA!
Profile Image for Joanne Nock.
60 reviews
September 9, 2020
I was given a copy of this to review by the author and I must apologise for the length of time it took me to do it due to office moves, family illness etc.
However moving on to the book itself and I very much enjoyed it. I had previously read the Huck Fin/ Tom Sawyer stuff but that wasn't in any way required to enjoy this as a stand alone book.
Molly is a very likeable character, she has warmth, integrity and backbone and she is very much a lady whose acquaintance I would like to make if I lived at that time. Though in part 1 of the book she appears to live somewhat by Murphy's law and at times I predicted what catastrophe was coming next and I always hate it when I can do that. Part 2 of the book really gathers momentum and it was difficult to put down in that phase which I read in one session.
Overall I enjoyed this and will now seek out the other books in the series. Once again, I am grateful to the author for asking me to review it.
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