- Paperback: 324 pages
- Publisher: Pronghorn Press (May 20, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1932636617
- ISBN-13: 978-1932636611
Source for book: Copy provided for review by author for book tour.
Book Description from Amazon.com:
Publication Date: May 20, 2010
Ranching is a life of extremes, perhaps even more so on the high plains near Laramie, Wyoming. And no one knows that better than Gwen Swan, who married both her husband Will and his family ranch where she works hard beside the men and struggles to raise her two children. Meg Braeburn, who has broken away from her family's ranch, expects unrelenting hard work when she takes a job on the place neighboring the Swans'. She and her son face an uncertain future, but she is determined to leave the past behind and make a good life for them. Gwen, who understands the corrosive effects of isolation better than Meg, includes Meg in her family and community and wins Meg's gratitude and support. But there is little time for reflection on anyone's part as the wheel of the seasons grinds relentlessly onward bringing disasters and triumphs and a a rough road for all concerned. The prodigal Swan son returns and relationships shift, old resentments resurface and friendships are strained and tested as everyone finds themselves struggling against the elements and each other to continue their way of life. In this remarkable debut novel the author presents us with fully formed characters that ring as clear and true as the picture of ranch life she paints as a background for the universal struggles we all confront.
My take on this book:
Gwen Swan's life seems to be full of endless chores, but such is the way of a rancher's wife. She married her husband Will ten years ago and has two children, Rory and McKenna. While her father-in-law John has his own house he started taking all of his meals with them after the death of his wife which occurred two months after she married Will.
Meg Braeburn and her son Jim move onto a neighboring ranch. Meg is no stranger to hard work and since her husband Ronnie is no longer in the picture she takes a job working for Charles Mather on his ranch hoping for a fresh start. Will the friendship that forms between the Swan's and Meg last?
The author brings to life the setting in this story. I could easily envision ranch life, and how being responsible for the land could consume someone. The harshness of the elements, or the struggles of managing livestock seemed so realistic. I found myself being drawn into this story right away, and could easily feel the monotony that Gwen felt, even her marriage was a chore. Will was so absorbed in his own issues that his marriage really took a back burner. I could easily understand why Gwen needed the friendship with Meg. There was so much to this story, the author not only allowed a very realistic look at ranch life, but also paints a story of family drama and broken relationships. A story well worth reading.
About the author:
Jamie Lisa Forbes was born and raised on a family ranch along the Little Laramie River in southeast Wyoming. After graduation from the University of Colorado in 1977, she studied and worked in Israel for over a year and then returned to Wyoming where she ranched and raised a family for the next 15 years. After the family ranch was sold in 1993, she moved to North Carolina and eventually began law school at the University of North Carolina. While in law school, she started her debut novel, Unbroken. Unbroken won the 2011 WILLA Literary Award for outstanding contemporary fiction featuring women in the West.Ms. Forbes practices law in Greensboro, North Carolina and is working on a second novel.To learn more about the author click here to go to her web page.