2011 WILLA Literary Award Winner
for Best Contemporary Fiction
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 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 true as the picture of ranch life she paints as a background for the universal struggles we all confront.
“Forbes’ debut novel is powerful and she presents a host of character who are all complex, emotionally flawed beings. This is especially so in their Wyoming setting as the characters face extremely harsh winters and the difficult 24/7 life of ranchers. the plot’s emphasis on two strong women struggling to maintain a relationship is unique against a dramatic background of infidelity, single motherhood, poverty and small town isolation.”
“What an amazing story about strength and weakness, and about how grinding disappointment and endless hard work plays out in people’s lives.”
“Characters are beautifully written, excellent portrayal of the harsh nature of life on a Wyoming ranch.”
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Available in Softcover, Digital and Audio versions.