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Book Review: Indiscretions Along Virtue Avenue: Confessions of Sadie Orchard

Review of "Indiscretions Along Virtue Avenue: Confessions of Sadie Orchard" by Harper Courtland

January 28, 2020

This unique historical fiction novel is an intriguing story of Sadie Orchard, a real Old West character, born Sarah Jane Creech in Mills County, Iowa, in 1859. Sadie chose a path of prostitution. Little is known of her early days. In 1886, she moved into Kingston, New Mexico Territory, speaking with a British accent and claiming to be from the Limehouse district of London. Within a year, Sadie had her own brothel on Virtue Avenue. Outrageous stories abound about Sadie, but some historians consider it plausible that she conspired with another woman and employed dynamite in an attempted murder. However, in many ways, Sadie might argue that she stayed on Virtue Avenue all her life. She and her girls helped raise money to build a church and tended victims of smallpox. Sadie married J. W. Orchard, owner of an express line, and became one of the few women to drive a stagecoach. A friend of the actress, Lillian Russell, Sadie also counted territorial governor William Thornton and politician Albert Fall among her friends.

Harper Courtland’s writing talent and character development help the reader to understand and sympathize with women who were surrounded by corruption at all levels of society and who had few options to survive.

Indiscretions Along Virtue Avenue: Confessions of Sadie Orchard is unflinching and gritty.

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