“I’m not like anyone,” Baby Doe Tabor tells her husband, Horace. Indeed, she isn’t. Self-made and ambitious, she is also a home-wrecker, a miner, a visionary, and an immensely wealthy and beautiful woman. Until, that is, the 1893 silver crash makes her an immensely reclusive pauper. The historical Baby Doe Tabor became a Colorado legend after she abandoned her husband in Central City, moved to Leadville, and convinced silver magnate and U.S. Senator Horace Tabor to ditch his wife and marry her. The newspapers called their nuptials in Washington D.C. the wedding of the century. They moved into a Denver mansion with mahogany paneling, silk palace rugs, ancient Chinese temple jars, and peacocks on the lawn. When Oscar Wilde visited Leadville in 1882, they arranged a formal sit-down dinner for him complete with torches, black tie waiters, and gold and silver service deep inside their most lucrative silver mine, the Matchless. After the crash and Horace’s subsequent death, the Matchless also became Baby Doe’s home for the rest of her long life. Implored by her husband on his deathbed not to sell it, she lived in a shack beside the mine wearing layers of coats and sweaters and rags on her feet, and scribbled her dreams and apparitions on whatever paper she could find–envelopes, calendars, labels torn from cans of peaches. Meanwhile, her daughter, Silver Dollar (full name: Silver Dollar Rose Marie Echo Honeymaid Tabor) moved to Chicago, became a morphine addict, and met a horrifying end. Through it all, Baby Doe loved her second husband Horace and stayed loyal to his memory. Her rags-to-riches-to-rags story inspired Edward G. Robinson’s 1932 film, Silver Dollar and Douglas Moore’s 1956 opera, The Ballad of Baby Doe. In All for Love, she is an American original, an American dreamer, and a woman in charge of her own sexuality. Hardly a madwoman in a cabin, she is in old age an independent spirit who, having run through her wardrobe of cut and measured selves, chooses to live alone inside her visions.
“Vernon proves himself a dazzling craftsman . . . [All for Love] has a gritty, picaresque feel that will be familiar to Vernon fans. So will the flamboyant flair of his description, the choice eccentricity of his vocabulary and the vivid depiction of his larger-than-life characters.” – Michael Upchurch, The San Francisco Chronicle
“Vernon has fashioned a classically American, true-grit saga of greed, dreams and delusions. His frisky prose races along like quicksilver, exuding vitality and quirkiness in equal parts.” – Publisher’s Weekly [Starred review]
“Vernon’s surefooted, free-associative prose often dazzles . . . . A high-color portrait that’s viscerally powerful.” – Kirkus Reviews