Saturday, November 14, 2009

About the Book: The Man from Shenandoah

Carl Owen returns from the Civil War to find the family farm destroyed, his favorite brother dead, food scarce, and his father determined to leave the Shenandoah Valley to build a cattle empire in Colorado Territory. Crossing the continent, Carl falls in love with his brother's fiance' while set to wed another girl, but he might lose everything if the murderous outlaw Berto Acosta has his way. Carl battles a band of outlaws, a prairie fire, blizzards, a trackless waterless desert, and his own brother—all for the hand of feisty Ellen Bates.

Genre: Fiction - Western

Reviews -- Reviews -- Reviews -- Reviews

A Western That is Truly West, March 5, 2003
By D. Davis (PAYSON, AZ USA)

I had nearly given up on reading Westerns as the newer ones I have read present such modern morals and language. Ms. Ward uses the language of the class & region, which makes The Man from Shenandoah so pleasing. Ms. Ward gives us joyous times but doesn't pass lightly over the hardships either. The author draws a character in such human warmth and depth that you have no trouble remembering who is whom. I don't know how a woman can write so well from a man's viewpoint; but, as she illustrates so well, men didn't understand women in the old West any better than they do now, but we women are another story!

Marsha Ward has a way with dialogue that eases us into familiarity with Carl Owen, the book's main character. His thoughts and words flow so clearly that we come to know him as a common man with a sense of humor. Carl is not given to flowery speeches. He can be a complex man who at times makes some pretty funny mistakes, and he doesn't like to apologize for them. Carl's values and his honor cause him no end of conflict with his family and others throughout his story. Often a western (especially one with romance included) lacks a deep feeling of family. I liked this one because the main character was not the 'loner with no family to teach him love and values' hero. The better part of the characters in this novel were members of warm, loving, laughing and arguing families. It was a joy to get to know them.

Ms. Ward paints vivid night skies, warm sun on your face and makes you wish you could lie down to contemplate the clouds in a meadow surrounded by quakies (Aspen trees to those not native to the Rockies). Colorado, Nevada, Utah and of course Arizona have been my playgrounds all my life and the journey into past memories was achingly sweet. A young girl threw her arms up over her head and whirled around in a meadow full of wildflowers and cried "I love you, Colorado, you're beautiful." This Colorado girl was so homesick she cried too - tears.

Ms. Ward's characters worked `danged hard' and they went down to the 'crick' to get water. Arizonan's give me such strange looks when I talk about the dry cricks here.

Well, human nature being what it is, there were people I loved and people I could do without but loved to hate. I was also a bit humbled by the women and yes, I would wish to be more like Ellen Bates myself. Now give us our sequel - it's so hard to wait!

I can't leave you without also mentioning that the cover is to die for. Yummy!

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Paperback: 246 pages
Publisher: IUniverse (January 2003)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0595263089
ISBN-13: 978-0595263080
Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.6 inches
Shipping Weight: 13.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars Sales Rank: #561,584 in Books

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