Black, Michelle

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article
views updated

Black, Michelle

PERSONAL:

Born in KS; married; children: two sons.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Divide, CO. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Author, lawyer. Practiced law in Kansas; bookstore owner, Frisco, CO; founder of Wolf Moon Press, Frisco.

MEMBER:

Women Writing the West, Western Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers.

AWARDS, HONORS:

National service award, Association of Junior Leagues, for booklet "The Child Care Equation"; Colorado Independent Publisher Award for fiction, 1997, for Never Come Down.

WRITINGS:

Never Come Down (novel), Wolf Moon Press (Frisco, CO), 1996.

Lightning in a Drought Year (novel), Wolf Moon Press (Frisco, CO), 1999.

"EDEN MURDOCH" SERIES; NOVELS

An Uncommon Enemy, Forge (New York, NY), 2001.

Solomon Spring, Forge (New York, NY), 2002.

The Second Glass of Absinthe: A Mystery of the Victorian West, Forge (New York, NY), 2003.

Work represented in anthologies, including Westward: A Fictional History of the American West, edited by Dale Walker, Forge (New York, NY), 2003. Creator of the course "Let's Talk Cheyenne."

SIDELIGHTS:

Michelle Black started her career as a novelist after moving to Colorado and opening a bookstore there. Fascinated by the history of the American West, she began research on a series of novels and became involved with a movement to save Native American languages from extinction. Her "Eden Murdoch" series, which includes An Uncommon Enemy, Solomon Springs, and The Second Glass of Absinthe: A Mystery of the Victorian West, features a white woman who has lived among the Native Americans for years, following her escape from an abusive spouse. Taken captive when the troops of General George Custer overrun her village, Eden is not happy to be "rescued," and she refuses to be used as part of a propaganda campaign to raise support for actions against Native Americans. She beginas a romantic relationship with Captain Brad Rarndall, an aide to Custer, who eventually fathers her child.

A reviewer for Publishers Weekly called An Uncommon Enemy a book with "strong characters, smart narration and a fast-moving plot."

In Solomon Springs, many years have passed, years in which Eden and Brad have not been in contact. Their paths cross again when Eden becomes involved in a fight to save a spring—one held sacred by the Native Americans—from being desecrated by a wealthy land developer. When Brad and Eden reunite, he brings Eden news of their son, whom she had thought dead for many years. Brad and Eden's relationship, the strength of their characters, and the "vivid" recreation of life in the American West, along with a gripping plot, all work together "to make this an absorbing historical mystery," stated Sue O'Brien in Booklist. The "credible and engaging characters, particularly the fearless and feisty heroine," are just one element of a "fine historical adventure yarn," according to a Publishers Weekly reviewer.

Eden and Brad are planning to be married in The Second Glass of Absinthe, but their plans are disrupted when Brad's nephew, Kit, stands accused of murder. Kit hides out with a fortune-teller, Bella Valentine, while Eden and Brad try to sort out the many possible suspects in the crime. Spiritualism and the occult were popular in the Victorian era, and the novel explores these, labor unrest, and other relevant themes of the day. A Publishers Weekly reviewer found the pacing slow in this mystery, but praised the "wonderfully realized setting," and Rex Klett, writing in Booklist, recommended The Second Glass of Absinthe as a "fascinating" look at life in the Victorian West.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, September 1, 2002, Sue O'Brien, review of Solomon Spring, p. 61; July, 2003, Sue O'Brien, review of The Second Glass of Absinthe: A Mystery of the Victorian West, p. 1868.

Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2002, review of Solomon Spring, p. 1174; June 15, 2003, review of The Second Glass of Absinthe, p. 835.

Library Journal, August, 2003, Rex Klett, review of The Second Glass of Absinthe, p. 139.

Publishers Weekly, September 21, 1998, review of Never Come Down, p. 75; September 3, 2001, review of An Uncommon Enemy, p. 61; August 26, 2002, review of Solomon Spring, p. 46; August 11, 2003, review of The Second Glass of Absinthe, p. 261.

Roundup, December, 2001, review of An Uncommon Enemy, p. 26.

ONLINE

American Western Online,http://www.readthewest.com/ (September 12, 2004), review of Solomon Spring and interview with Black.

Michelle Black Home Page,http://michelleblack.com (March 22, 2007).

Romantic Times Book Club,http://www.romantictimes.com/ (September 12, 2004), Cyndie Dennis-Greer, review of Lightning in a Drought Year, and Sheri Melnick, review of Solomon Spring.