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The Five Dollar Mail by Regina Shelley

Rounders, Miscreants, and Hooligans. Cowboy boots. Fights. Romance. Obscenely expensive postage. 

Five dollars to mail a letter seems like a lot of money to shy farm girl Lily McMillian. When she’s hired in the spring of 1860 by Old Man Lynch as a cook for his stagecoach and Pony Express station, she finds out why it’s so expensive.

Dropped into a whirlwind of rowdy men and boys, fast horses, and frightening conflict, she inherits more than a busy kitchen and a pile of dirty laundry. She gains an unlikely band of brothers, a motley collection of rounders, miscreants, and troublemakers, all of whom are in sore need of someone to keep them in line.

Note: The Five Dollar Mail contains some graphic violence and harsh language.


A complete novel

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Listed: Apr 16, 2011

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A western well worth the read

By KCaiShi, member

Sep 22, 2013: When I first stumbled on Five Dollar Mail, I was taken aback by the fact that no one else had reviewed or rated it. The serial started in 2008 and is still going strong today, and while I’ve only read the updates up to 2009, I have a feeling I’ll be burning through the next five years of content rather quickly. A historical fiction set in the Wild West of 1860, Five Dollar Mail follows the various employees of the Green River stagecoach and Pony Express station as they survive the perils of the frontier, and boasts both a diverse cast of characters and a compelling storyline.

The narrative is interspersed with beautiful and professional-level illustrations of the various characters, and the period-style pictures contribute substantially to Five Dollar Mail’s delightful atmosphere, which is where its greatest strengths lie. There is a strong feeling of authenticity for both the period and the people; I particularly enjoy the camaraderie and the dynamic relationships between all of the Green River Station crew, and the little details sprinkled throughout that reinforce the time period. The prose is clean and sharp, with evocative imagery that does not obstruct the story, and while the navigation is a little clunky there is no end of content to explore on the site.

One additional thing that caught my attention is that there are guest artists and guest writers galore on the site. Mrs. Shelley seems to be very close to her audience, taking into account feedback and fanwork, and that is something I very much appreciate.

Five Dollar Mail is good enough to merit a general recommendation, but is especially for those who enjoy period pieces, large casts, and character-driven storylines.

5 of 5 members found this review helpful.
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