Thanks to the publisher for sending me a free copy of the book.
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Wyoming, 1870. For as long as they have lived on the frontier, the Bemis and Webber families have relied on each other. With no other settlers for miles, it is a matter of survival. But when Ernest Bemis finds his wife, Cora, in a compromising situation with their neighbor, he doesn’t think of survival. In one impulsive moment, a man is dead, Ernest is off to prison, and the women left behind are divided by rage and remorse.
Losing her husband to Cora’s indiscretion is another hardship for stoic Nettie Mae. But as a brutal Wyoming winter bears down, Cora and Nettie Mae have no choice but to come together as one family—to share the duties of working the land and raising their children. There’s Nettie Mae’s son, Clyde—no longer a boy, but not yet a man—who must navigate the road to adulthood without a father to guide him, and Cora’s daughter, Beulah, who is as wild and untamable as her prairie home.
Bound by the uncommon threads in their lives and the challenges that lie ahead, Cora and Nettie Mae begin to forge an unexpected sisterhood. But when a love blossoms between Clyde and Beulah, bonds are once again tested, and these two resilient women must finally decide whether they can learn to trust each other—or else risk losing everything they hold dear.
Holy cats, did this book do a number on me. I picked it up because it’s set in a time and place I’ve barely dipped my toes into, and honestly wasn’t sure if it would be for me. The few times I’ve tried reading about the “old west” have been very hit or miss, often feeling too dry. This book, however, sucked me right in with its lifelike characters and kick-in-the-pants plot line.
So, characters first. There are some very unique personalities in this book, and they don’t all mesh very well. I loved it. I loved getting to know each of these people and watch as they grew and developed and learned to adjust to meet the needs of the life taking place around them. And the narration alternates voices, which is one of my favorite storytelling devices. I love how well-rounded it feels when you’re seeing it from all the different angles.
And now that plot line. I don’t want to tell you more than what’s given in the synopsis, but it starts with a bang. (I love when a story pulls you in right away!) From there it simultaneously feels like the story calms down and speeds up. The chaos of the initial catastrophe is gone, the weather is changing, and the two families are left to try to survive without their leaders. The views and attitudes of the mothers were very different from that of the children, and I often found myself wondering who was parenting whom.
Overall, the story felt like a slow burn, following the same type of rhythm that lives during this time period experienced. But the pacing was perfect for the story being told. How will these families survive when every person is needed to stay afloat, yet their two leaders are unexpectedly eliminated from the equation? Also? This one totally hit the spot when it came to my “great big family story” craving. (This is a real thing. I invented it to describe the 2019 status of my reading mood.)
So if you followed along on this twisty review and enjoyed the ride, I highly recommend you add One for the Blackbird, One for the Crow to you’re TBR. And you might as well enter my giveaway below. Only a fool passes up the chance at a free book. 😉
***GIVEAWAY*** I’m very excited to be partnering with TLC Book Tours to be giving away a copy of this fantastic read with one of you! To enter is simple: tell me about a new-to-you genre you weren’t expecting to love, but now can’t get enough of. I love hearing about how a person’s reading life has changed. Want a second entry? Jump over to my Instagram post and leave a book recommendation there from that same genre. And that’s it. Easy peasy. Giveaway is limited to US addresses only, and will close on Wednesday, October 16 at 11:59 PM CST. Winner will have 24 hours to respond with their full mailing address, or I’ll move on to the next name drawn. Good luck, and happy reading!
Book stats: hardcover, 496 pages, Lake Union Publishing, October 8, 2019