Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars
Except for the way they loved each other, they were just ordinary, everyday folks. Just ordinary.
1916. The two-street town of Wallace is not exactly what Ellen Webster had in mind when she accepted a teaching position in Wyoming, but within a year’s time she’s fallen in love—both with the High Plains and with a handsome cowboy named Charlie Bacon. Life is not easy in the flat, brown corner of the state where winter blizzards are unforgiving and the summer heat relentless. But Ellen and Charlie face it all together, their relationship growing stronger with each shared success, and each deeply felt tragedy.
Ellen finds purpose in her work as a rancher’s wife and in her bonds with other women settled on the prairie. Not all of them are so lucky as to have loving husbands, not all came to Wallace willingly, and not all of them can survive the cruel seasons. But they look out for each other, share their secrets, and help one another in times of need. And the needs are great and constant. The only city to speak of, Cheyenne, is miles away, making it akin to the Wild West in rural Wallace. In the end, it is not the trials Ellen and Charlie face together that makes them remarkable, but their love for one another that endures through it all.
Ellen Webster spent her college years in Chicago. She felt worldly after school and saw an advertisement for a teaching position in Wallace, Wyoming. She was gratified that the local townsfolk offered her the job and went to Wallace with her hopes high. She was going to enjoy the woody wilds of Wyoming.
The train stopped in the middle of a prairie town barely two blocks long. The school house was one room with kindergarten through 9th grade being taught. The desolate area was a solid horizon with no trees. What a disappointment! Most teachers stayed for one or two months maximum, but Ellen is determined to stay the entire year per her contract. The students are helpful and respectful.
The town comes to meet the new school teacher and a handsome cowboy catches her eye. It is love at first sight and they are soon married. The cowboy’s name is Charlie Bacon, nicknamed Fatback. He is smitten instantly and they are married with the whole town in attendance. Ellen has never known such happiness.
A one-bedroom shack is their new home on the windswept landscape and sagebrush and creosote are their constant companions. The wind blows relentlessly but the two lovers are determined to stick it out together. Coyotes howl every night and although desolate there is never a dull moment. With the new home, the young couple decides to start a family together. Ellen is happy with Charlie but misses her Illinois home with the green and trees.
The couple is well-liked and the neighbors work to make the new school teacher happy in the community. Like most pioneer communities’ danger and demise are often an integral part of everyday life. This book paints a portrait of pioneer life at its’ most basic. Only the strong of mind and spirit can survive. Enjoy! 5 stars – CE Williams
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book.
Genre: Women’s Historical Fiction, Westerns
Publisher: St Martin’s Press
Print Length: 320 pages
Publication Date: April 18, 2023
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Where Coyotes Howl [Amazon]
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The Author: Sandra Dallas, dubbed “a quintessential American voice” in Vogue Magazine, is the author of over a dozen novels, including Prayers for Sale and Tallgrass, many translated into a dozen languages and optioned for films. Six-time winner of the Willa Award and four-time winner of the Spur Award, Dallas was a Business Week reporter for 25 years covering the Rocky Mountain region, and began writing fiction in 1990. She has two daughters and lives with her husband in Denver and Georgetown, Colorado.
©2022 CE Williams – V Williams