Read More Here!

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Search for the Perfect Western: The Showdown Begins!!

Come on, admit it; at some point in time, everybody has been infatuated with the old west. Even if it just lasted a couple days, at some point we've all wanted our share of cowboys, adventure, and grit and guts living. Most of the time this comes from television. I know it's sort of weird, but I still love to watch Bonanza (Adam is my favorite Cartwright, just in case anyone was wondering), and don't even get me started on spaghetti westerns (Call Me Trinity. Yes, it's the best...).

But what about books?? For some reason or other, good western novels have always eluded me. Which is especially sad, as someday I'd like to write my own novels with a western theme. The only westerns I've ever read have either been vulgar to the point of my not finishing them, or just plain boring. Unoriginal. With uninteresting characters.

Which brings me to this new 'reading challenge'. Now, unlike the others I've done, this isn't a 'must read all these fantastic books by a certain date for my own betterment.' Nope, this is just a relaxed, easy going list I want to work my way through. I want to find the 'perfect' western novel, that I can recommend to people and re-read each summer. I'm searching for a great plot, deep characters, excitement, perhaps a little romance, and a morally decent book. By the way, I apologize for the cheesy title. It was an attempt at being clever, which sort of flopped, but I liked the result anyway. :)

Below is a list of recommendations I've gleaned from friends, family, librarians, and the ever useful Goodreads. :) I've also included a mini description of what I believe it's about. All links lead back to fuller descriptions on Goodreads. (Will update this post with cross-outs for the ones I've read).

Shane by Jack Schaefer: Told from the viewpoint of a young boy on a western farm, Shane tells the story of a mysterious worker on the farm, and the subsequent tension in town. (here).

Faith by Lori Copeland: The first in the Brides of the West series. The series follows the stories of three sisters who become mail-order brides. (here).

The Peacemaker by Lori Copeland: The first in the Men of the Saddle series. Tells the story of a revengeful bride and her hunt to shoot down the man who left her at the alter and stole her money. She just might find love, however, as she head of on an adventure with his brother...(here).

Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey: The romantic story of Jane, daughter of a Mormon leader, who must be courageous during the arguments between the Mormons and the Gentiles. (here).

The Magic of Ordinary Days by Ann Howard Creel: What first caught my eye about this novel is that it's set in WWII era west, rather than 'pioneer days'. Rather exciting to me, as one of the ideas for my novels is a 30's or 40's era western! This book tells the story of Olivia, who is banished to be a bride at a Colorado Outpost after she becomes pregnant. Later she unwittingly helps in a crime, and then faces betrayal. (here).

Going Postal by Terry Pratchet: To avoid being hanged, a swindler must get the post office running again and sort through decades of mail. 'For once in his wretched life Moist is going to fight. And if the bold and impossible are what's called for, he'll do it - in order to move the mail, continue breathing, get the girl, and specially deliver that invaluable commodity that every human being (not to mention troll, dwarf, and, yes, even golem) requires: hope' (here). 

God of Her Fathers by Alicia A. Willis: When Ellen's husband dies suddenly, she finds herself alone, scared, and struggling to survive in the harsh prairie. When a stranger comes into the picture, who just might be an outlaw, she must decide whether to struggle alone or accept his help. (here). 

This is certainly not a complete list...just a couple of ideas that have been floating around lately! If any of you have read and enjoyed a western, please leave a comment! I'd love to check it out! And yes, I've already started in on Shane. I'm only two chapters in, but I've already fallen in love with yet another fictional character. *sigh*

Your Thoughts?: Is anyone planning on trying any of these reads? What's your favorite picks for western novels? And I'm sorry, I've gotta ask...who's your favorite Cartwright?

Thanks for reading! :)


  1. Okay, I'm going to stop lurking and post something... :)

    Louis L'Amour is one of my favorite Western writers. His characters are interesting and original and the story moves right along. The Hopalong Cassidy series is especially good.

    And my favorite Cartwright is either Adam or Joe. Though really, they all bring out the best in each other, so it's hard to choose.


    1. Hi!

      ooohh, thanks for the suggestion! I'll have to check some of his books out sometime. :)

      Very true! Adam is still my hands-down favorite, but all the Cartwrights work so well together, that you can't really say one's better than the other! I'm just so glad there's another high school girl out there who watches Bonanza. Sometimes I feel like the only one! :P


    2. My sister and myself are *huge* fans. It's a good show. Cute guys and beautiful horses for the girls and enough gunfights to keep the brothers interested. ;)