Author: Angela Christina Archer
Genre: Historical, Western, Romance
Rating: 3 Stars
Armed with her six-shooter, Ava De La Vega dips the pen into the inkwell and etches her name on the Esmeralda County tax record book. A formidable force, that’s what her peers have called her. The woman in a man’s world, what did she know of mining ore, silver, and copper? Plenty. And it’s this knowledge that makes her of the richest miners in Nevada in 1903. Of course, it also makes her a target.
Traveling back and forth from Tonopah, Nevada and San Francisco, Ava blazes the trail from the dirt and grime of her mines to the fanciest hotel rooms, enjoying the finest wines, the most decadent meals, and the company of attractive young men.
Unfortunately, for Ava, she doesn’t see Craig Harrison coming.
A miner from the snowy Klondike, Craig has traveled from the harsh Canadian mountains down to city streets of San Francisco. Not looking for work, he’s happy with the comfortable life away from the deep mines, the dirt, and the ever sought-after gold.
Unfortunately, for Craig, he doesn’t see Ava coming.
WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW
I was a little on the fence with how to rate A Road Paved in Copper by Angela Christina Archer. As I first delved into the book, I was a bit thrown by the style in which the narrative was written. There was a lot of description—beautiful description—but it tended to come off as telling more often than showing. For all the words used to describe Ava De La Vega’s world, none of them had quite the impact I wanted to really sink into the world building.
As far as the characters are concerned, Ava was a very strong, very competent main female lead, and in contrast, Craig often came off as a bit of a beta male. He had a tendency to sit back and let Ava do whatever she wanted rather than striving to push her into facing her faults. Between the two, I definitely liked Ava a lot more.
As for the romance… I had a few problems with it. Ava had a lot of past lovers, which is absolutely fine and didn’t bother me in the slightest, but what did bother me is the fact that she had both a relationship with Billy Jack, one of the “villains” of the story, Craig—the main male lead, as well as her foreman. It felt weird and unneeded to have the foreman’s relationship with Ava pointed out at the same time that she’s dealing with her past with Billy Jack, and her new lover, Craig. It felt like a bit of overkill.
That being said, It also felt like Ava’s relationship with Craig went a little too fast to be convincing. I think a large part of this is due to the fact that despite seeing the chemistry between the two lovers right off the bat, the majority of their relationship was played out off-screen on the trail back home, which realistically would have taken days, maybe even weeks. It was skimmed over and then they were home, and the readers were supposed to accept their budding relationship and keep moving forward. It didn’t feel convincing to me. I wish we’d gotten more time to actually see their relationship develop ourselves.
All of that aside, I still liked the book. Despite its flaws, I’d still say it was pretty well written. I liked the characters, the plot, the world building… Tonopah felt real to me, and it was definitely a different twist on an old western trope where the roles of the story were reversed a bit. Ava was everything I’d expect from a strong female lead. In the end, I gave the book 3 stars because it wasn’t a bad book, but it also wasn’t the greatest I’ve ever read. It had its flaws and it’s great points, overall, I liked it. If you’re looking for a historical western-themed romance with a strong female lead, I’d recommend you check this out—that part of the book was very well done. If you prefer Alpha males and simpering ladies, you might want to pass this one up.