My rating: 5 of 5 stars
It’s 1947 and Dr. Herman Beaman awakens to find an old familiar duffle bag that has been left on his doorstep. The stained and worn bag takes Dr. Beaman back almost two decades to a fateful journey he and Selmer Burks took together – a journey that’s been etched into the doctor’s memory forever.
The bag and what it now contains (namely Tom Burks’ journal) becomes the catalyst that takes the reader back to 1877 – the early days of the Burks family, their trek from Tennessee to Texas, their search for a new and better life, and their eventual settle in Oklahoma. The head of the Burks family, Silas, is a proud, honest and fair man who simply wants to stake his claim on a profitable cattle ranch in order to provide for his growing family. As was common during this time, life was difficult, uncertain and often times heartbreaking. Making enemies of the well-to-do, yet unscrupulous Hyde family didn’t make things any easier for the struggling Burks family. Through a series of run-ins with the Hydes, the Burks suffer several serious setbacks. Silas’s youngest son, Selmer, isn’t nearly as forgiving as his father and he has no problem giving the Hyde men what they have coming – even if it means breaking some bones and making even more enemies.
J B Bergstad is a fantastic storyteller. His ability to spin a tale that weaves family determination, justifiable vengeance, and devious cutthroat and lawless activity, together with other factual American history is admirable and riveting. I was hooked from the start and did not want to put this book down until I was finished. I found myself rooting for the Burks family and caring about them all. Although Selmer Burks was often ruthless and even murderous, I fully understood what had brought him to that point. I also found myself hoping the Hyde family would finally be brought to justice. It wasn’t difficult to imagine myself in these harsh and early days of the old West and feel what it was like to struggle through life just as the early ranchers did.
One thing is for sure, Hyde’s Corner – Book I is just the beginning. Book I leaves us with several questions that readers will want answers to. I would highly recommend this series to anyone interested in the old West, the dynamics of family, revenge and true American grit. I can’t wait to read Book II!