Roy & Lillie: A Love Story

Loren D. Estleman

Forge Books

A unique novel of England and the Old West

Roy was Judge Roy Bean, the infamous, notorious real-life Justice of the Peace whose life has been the source of biographies, novels, plays, and films. Lillie was Lillie Langtry, the celebrated “Jersey Lily” of the British stage. They never met, but they wrote letters to each other. From very different backgrounds, living vastly different lives, separated by an ocean and most of a continent, these two unforgettable people share something unique in the “lost letters” of this novel. For many years Bean, the cantankerous self-styled arbiter of rough frontier justice, wrote fan letters to the beautiful actress across the sea; occasionally, she wrote back. He even renamed the town in which he lived Langtry in her honor. And they would have met, if Bean had not died shortly before Lillie, after years of this strange but poignant correspondence, finally kept her promise to visit her distant admirer.

In this story of letters lost, Loren D. Estleman, with all the nuance and narrative skill that has won him multiple Spur Awards, brings to life an untold chapter of transatlantic love that is as tender as it is unique.

At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.


Read an Excerpt

His reputation, like the lust for Stetsons and high-heeled boots, started at the state line, and he made the most of it by plastering the front of the Jersey Lilly with signs (ICE-COLD BEER & LAW WEST OF THE PECOS) and placing himself on display in a rocking chair on the porch at train time. Earlier he’d bribed conductors and porters to prime passengers for the big attraction, but the railroad men were willing enough to spread the stories free of charge, so eventually he returned his poke to his pocket. Roy was scrupulous when it came to his own money.
Pilgrims who witnessed


Praise for Roy & Lillie: A Love Story

Praise for The Branch and the Scaffold:

“Fascinating historical fiction.” —Booklist

“This is a vivid, fast-paced western adventure brilliantly presented by a masterful storyteller.” —Publishers Weekly

Praise for The Master Executioner:

“The tale of a master executioner written by a master storyteller: What more could you ask for?” —Elmore Leonard

“A master craftsman at storytelling, Estleman spins a fascinating and macabre account about a forgotten craftsman of the Old West, the professional hangman.” —Elmer Kelton

“Estleman’s prose snaps like fresh linen Treasury bills, using a Cold- Eye-of-God style for a type of fiction-truer-than-fact stretching back to Defoe’s true-fact novel Journal of the Plague Year.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Loren D. Estleman

  • LOREN D. ESTLEMAN is the winner of multiple awards for his western writing, including five Spurs, two Stirrups, and three Western Heritage Awards. He lives in Central Michigan with his wife, author Deborah Morgan.
  • Loren D. Estleman Deborah Morgan


Available Formats and Book Details

Roy & Lillie: A Love Story

Loren D. Estleman

Spur Awards - Finalist


Forge Books