n the future, small colonies of humans survive the devastation left in the wake of an asteroid strike. Each day they struggle to endure the loss of all technology. For centuries, the people who founded the colony of Solonia thought they were the only survivors. When a horrendous illness ravaged the men, many of them turned to a steroid-like plant for a remedy, but instead of helping them, it transformed them into vicious inhuman beasts that had to be turned out or destroyed. Without men, colony numbers began to decline. Finally, the Solonian women turned to a recently arrived group of shipwrecked colonists who inhabited their continent. These courageous adventurers called their lands The Realm.
Coming together with these bold, daring men, the wary women of Solonia chance falling in love with them. However, Cara of Solonia prefers her solitary life over sharing herself with a man. She has nightmares she doesn’t want anyone, let alone a loved one, to share in. It’s easier just to erect a hard shell around her emotions, giving men who might show interest in her the illusion that no emotions run beneath her hard cold exterior. Unfortunately, one man threatens to breach her defenses.
Captain Brady Gellot of the Realm is the only man intrepid enough to have ever tried breaching Cara's defenses. Her repeated frosty responses, however, finally dissuaded him from continuing his amorous advances. But things are about to change. Stranded alone in unexplored territory, Brady's charisma and persistent hopefulness slowly wear down Cara's defenses. As they struggle to survive in the untamed wilds, Cara's lonely soul longs for Brady, but her stubborn spirit fights against giving her heart to any man. Can she resolve her misgivings before an old enemy resurfaces and they can make their way home? Or will Cara choose the safety of her past loneliness rather than risk her heart? Ultimately, can she find the wisdom to put away her sword if it’s the only way to save The Realm?
Susan Kelley’s One Good Woman, one of those books I call “Futuristic Retro” for its post-technological relapse into simpler times, wonderfully wraps up The Chronicles of Solonia series. It finally brings together two favorite characters from earlier books and resolves the lives of heroes and heroines from the previous three books. It also answers the questions readers have had about what direction the colonies will take in the future, imparting a message of courage and optimism.
If you've been a fan of this series, I know you'll love this book, but if you haven‘t read the previous three books, I wouldn’t advise taking this one on before reading its prequels. It is definitely not a stand alone read. Each book starts with a historical account of the time as recorded by one of the reborn universities.
In One Good Woman, the author kept my interest throughout, with engrossing suspense in both the relationship between the two strong and independent main characters and several incidents that put them both in danger. The premise of being stranded together might not be a new one, but the author’s rendering of the situations the characters encountered and her descriptions of the setting and individual beliefs is superbly drawn. I'm truly sad to see this fascinating series end. I highly recommend all four books to readers of both romantic sci-fi and fantasy.