Monday, July 8, 2019

Favorite Western Novels

Laura Drake

I had a book release last week!  More on that, below. But it made me start thinking. What are my favorite books with a Western setting?

Here are a few:

1,000 White Women - Here's the blurb:

The story of May Dodd and a colorful assembly of pioneer women who, under the auspices of the U.S. government, travel to the western prairies in 1875 to intermarry among the Cheyenne Indians. The covert and controversial "Brides for Indians" program, launched by the administration of Ulysses S. Grant, is intended to help assimilate the Indians into the white man's world. Toward that end May and her friends embark upon the adventure of their lifetime. Jim Fergus has so vividly depicted the American West that it is as if these diaries are a capsule in time.

Someone recommended it to me, and the back blurb and cover sold me - so I didn't even pay attention to details. The author wrote women so well, and got the historical facts so dead-on, I was shocked at the end to find that, though the idea that sparked the story is real, the rest is fiction! This book grabbed me at page 1, and still hasn't let me go.

Last Woman Standing - Here's the blurb:

Two decades after the Civil War, Josephine Marcus, the teenage daughter of Jewish immigrants, is lured west with the promise of marriage to Johnny Behan, one of Arizona’s famous lawmen. She leaves her San Francisco home to join Behan in Tombstone, Arizona, a magnet for miners (and outlaws) attracted by the silver boom. Though united by the glint of metal, Tombstone is plagued by divided loyalties: between Confederates and Unionists, Lincoln Republicans and Democrats.
But when the silver-tongued Behan proves unreliable, it is legendary frontiersman Wyatt Earp who emerges as Josephine’s match. As the couple’s romance sparks, Behan’s jealousy ignites a rivalry destined for the history books…
At once an epic account of an improbable romance and a retelling of an iconic American tale, The Last Woman Standing recalls the famed gunfight at the O.K. Corral through the eyes of a spunky heroine who sought her happy ending in a lawless outpost—with a fierce will and an unflagging spirit.

A actually got this book at a conference. I didn't know what it was about, but the cover looked great... Oh my gosh, what a wonderful book!  Again, the facts are impeccable, but the author used fiction to make Josephine Earp come alive on the page. I highly recommend it - the story of a feisty woman, ahead of her time. Very inspiring.

Tougher in Texas - 5 book series - Here's the blurb from book 1: 

Violet Jacobs is fearless. At least, that's what the cowboys she snatches from under the hooves of bucking horses think. Outside the ring, she's got plenty of worries rattling her bones: her young son, her mess of a love life, and lately, her family's struggling rodeo. When she takes business into her own hands and hires on a hotshot bullfighter, she expects to start a ruckus.
She never expected Joe Cassidy.
Joe came to Texas to escape a life spiraling out of control. He never planned on sticking around, and he certainly never expected to call this dry and dusty backwater home. But Violet is everything he never knew he was missing, and the deeper he's pulled into her beautiful mess of a family, the more he realizes this fierce rodeo girl may be offering him the one thing he never could find on his own.
You cannot go wrong with any Dell book, but I love these best. She knows whereof she speaks - she lives on a family ranch near Glacier National Park, and is a roper and rodeo bum. Her books are real, and factually impeccable. Prepare to fall in love!

Coyote Dream - Here's the blurb:

For Sarah Friedman - smart, sophisticated, urban woman - the chance to journey to the Southwest to buy American Indian art for her family's successful New York store comes at a time of personal transition. Determined to put aside romantic disappointments, she seeks new perspectives in the serenity of the vast desert landscape. Then her car breaks down on a remote part of the Navajo reservation and fast-paced Sarah finds herself stranded in a slow brown world. 

After years of turmoil, Ben Lonefeather has finally gained control of his life. Aloof and tightly wound, he devotes his time to work and caring for the coyotes he rescued as pups. When Sarah Friedman shows up stranded he wants to get rid of her as quickly as possible, and only grudgingly offers help.

The intersection of two lives that would not ordinarily have crossed for more than a moment deepens into a connection that leaves both of them passionately alive and profoundly changed. Within a layered collision of social spheres, Coyote Dream explores the tension between society’s surface and nature’s undercurrent.

I read this years ago, and it's still hanging with me. The characters are true, the facts perfect, and the romance is a slow-burn. You'll thank me.

Okay, your turn.  Share your favorite western-set books in the comments!

The second (stand-alone) book in Laura's Chestnut Creek series, Home at Chestnut Creek, released July 2. 

Here's the blurb: 

First rule of life on the run: never get attached. Nevada Sweet knows that better than anyone-it's just too dangerous to stay put. And until now, she's never wanted to. But she gets more than she bargained for when she walks into the Chestnut Creek Café looking for a job. Despite the protective wall she's built, her coworker Joseph has her imagining a life she isn't yet convinced she deserves...

While Unforgiven, New Mexico has always been home, Joseph "Fishing Eagle" King still feels like an outsider-no matter how much he tries to give back to his Navajo community. Beneath Nevada's biting wit, he glimpses a similar vulnerability. Against all odds, Joseph finds himself falling for her, and it's clear she's not as unaffected as she pretends. When her past finally catches up with her, she'll have to decide whether to keep running, or fight for what's hers.


Kristy McCaffrey said...

These are great suggestions. I'll definitely check them out. The last one reminded me of a wonderful romance between a Navajo policeman and a white woman who's come to the reservation to claim her nephew, who is half Navajo. It's called ONE OF OUR OWN by Cheryl Reavis, and the romance also unfolds slowly. It's a keeper book. I think I need to check out COYOTE DREAM.

Laura Drake said...

And I'm checking out that one, Kristy, thank you!

Alicia Haney said...

Hi, would the Little House on the Prairie count?