Lonesome Land (Paperback)
Valeria had come to Montana to marry a cowboy named Manley, expecting a future full of companionship and bracing freedom, lodges with great fireplaces and bearskin rugs, manageable cattle and sleek horses, and dazzling sunrises. If Val had known what was really waiting for her, she simply wouldn’t have gotten off the train. Oh, the country was impressive, but it could be cruel in winter and lonesome for a woman stuck on a ranch miles from the nearest neighbor. Val is cast into circumstances that test her temper, strength, and sanity. Married to an alcoholic, she is forced to revise her back-East notions about men and women, duty, and the West itself. She goes from romanticization to "blind unreasoning terror of the empty land" to decisive action.
B. M.(Bertha Muzzy) Bower (1871–1940), the first woman to make a career of writing popular westerns like Chip of the Flying U, lived on a ranch in Montana and knew from experience Val’s situation, her awakening and embrace of the unconventional. Originally published in 1912, Lonesome Land is an extraordinary novel, perhaps Bower’s best. She was decades ahead of her time in taking on the subjects of divorce and spouse abuse. Pam Houston is the author of Cowboys Are My Weakness: Stories, winner of the 1993 Western States Book Award. She lives in Colorado near the headwaters of the Rio Grande.