Bandit Queen

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Bandit Queen

The Bandit Queen is based on facts surrounding Pearl Hart. Pearl was the first woman to spend time in the Yuma Territorial Prison in Arizona.

This story chronicles (with broad artistic license) the events leading up to Pearl's infamous stagecoach robbery.

What we know is that Pearl was from a well-to-do family. She met and married Frank Hart, a gambling man who beat her. She became a singer and escaped Frank's clutches only to reconcile with him later and bare two children.

She again fled from his abuse and went back to her mother where she left her children in pursuit of work.

It is in this time of her life that she committed the crime that landed her in prison. She received a pardon from the governor for early release, most likely because she was pregnant.

After wrapping up loose ends, the Bandit Queen ends soon after Pearl's release.

I'm not sure whether Pearl was just a bad egg or a spunky victim of circumstance. Regardless, Jane Candia Coleman's portrayal shows a woman at odds with the few choices available to women.

Her portrayal of life for a woman who struggling against the norms is rich and the historic backdrop is fascinating. The Bandit Queen held my interest throughout and I recommend it to anyone interested in historical fiction.


Book Blurb for Bandit Queen

Overnight, she became a media sensation. Pearl Hart, “the Bandit Queen.” The first woman sentenced to the infamous Yuma Penitentiary. To the newspapers, she was nothing more than a sassy firebrand who held up a stagecoach in daring fashion. They didn’t understand the desperation that led her to hit the outlaw trail. They didn’t see the bruises behind her tough façade. They didn’t know she’d do anything to escape….

Jane Candia Coleman is a six-time Pulitzer Prize nominee, three-time winner of the Western Heritage Award, two-time winner of the Spur Award, a Willa Award winner, and a Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award finalist. Bandit Queen is based on the memoirs of real-life outlaw Pearl Hart.


Night Owl Reviews Oct, 2009 4.50