Historical Fiction – Westerns

Focus on: Historical Westerns
The Winter Family: A Novel
by Clifford Jackman

Sherman’s March births the Winter “family,” a band of renegade Union soldiers-turned-mercenaries. Under the leadership of ruthless, yet charismatic, Augustus Winter, the gang — including a former slave, a privileged sociopath, and other societal outcasts — carves a bloody swath through the Reconstruction-era American South. This bleak, gritty historical novel about an outlaw convinced he’s doing God’s work by committing atrocities may appeal to fans of Kent Wascom’s The Blood of Heaven, about a boy preacher who grows up to become a notorious 19th-century bandit.

The Color of Lightning
by Paulette Jiles

Based on a true story, this novel follows freed slave Britt Johnson as he and his family travel to Texas shortly after the end of the American Civil War. Britt is eager to start his own freight business, while his wife intends to be a schoolteacher. Those plans are derailed when a group of Comanche-Kiowa kidnap Britt’s wife and children. Now Britt must come up with a plan to get them back before it’s too late. Don’t miss this “rousing, character-driven tale” (Kirkus Reviews) by Paulette Jiles, author of the bestselling Stormy Weather and Enemy Women.

Little Century
by Anna Keesey

At the invitation of her cousin, cattle rancher Ferris “Pick” Pickett, 18-year-old Esther Chambers arrives in Century, Oregon, to take up residence in an abandoned homesteader’s cabin. If Esther works the claim for five years, she becomes its rightful owner — at which point Pick plans to purchase the property and add it to his own extensive land holdings. However, neither he nor his kinswoman count on Esther falling in love with Oregon, not to mention a budding romance with local shepherd Ben Cruff. As conflict over grazing rights erupts into a range war between cattlemen and sheep ranchers, Esther must choose between love and family loyalty.

The Son: A Novel
by Philipp Meyer

Kidnapped during a Comanche raid that leaves his mother and sister dead, 13-year-old Eli McCullough, the first white child born in the brand-new Republic of Texas, spends three years living with his captors. At 16, Eli regains his freedom and returns to a world that’s nothing like the one he left behind. Nevertheless, he’s determined to carve out a place for himself in this lawless land. Throughout Eli’s restless, adventurous life, he’ll join the Texas Rangers, become a cattle rancher, and fight for the Confederate Army during the Civil War — not to mention fall in love (more than once) and found a dynasty. Don’t miss this sweeping family saga set against a vivid backdrop of Texas history.

These Is My Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1901: Arizona Territories
by Nancy E. Turner

In 1881, as her family joins a wagon train heading to the Arizona Territories, 17-year-old Sarah Prine records her experiences in a diary, vividly chronicling the hardships of frontier life in an authentic vernacular that reflects both her lack of formal education and her indomitable spirit. Based on the life of author Nancy E. Turner’s great-grandmother, These Is My Words comprises the first part of a family saga that continues with Sarah’s Quilt and The Star Garden. For another historical Western narrated by a plucky young pioneer woman, try Sandra Dallas’ The Diary of Mattie Spenser.

List created 11/23/15 – James Hartmann

Adapted from Nextreads.

Posted in Adult Staff Picks, Reading Lists and tagged , , .