by Michael McGarrity
Hardcover: 608 pages
Released: May 10, 2012
Source: Review copy from the publisher.
Book Description, Modified from the Cover:
Spanning the years of 1875 to 1918, Hard Country is a story of one family's struggle to settle and endure in the vast, untamed territory of New Mexico.
In the wake of the death of his wife as she gives birth to his son and the murder of his brother and nephew on the West Texas plains, John Kerney is forced to give up his ranch, leave his son behind, and strike out in search of a place where he can start over. He earns enough to buy a ranch in the New Mexico Territory and passes it on to his son, whom he is finally able to track down and bring home to the ranch. But the boy is emotionally broken due to his previous experiences and struggles to love his father, friends, and then wife and children.
Hard Country is a historical novel about the rugged southwest from the years 1875 to 1918. It's a very sad story with broken people struggling to just survive in a harsh yet beautiful land. There's no doubt that a lot of research went into this story. It felt more like a story about the land, the people (in general), and the times than the actual main characters. It had several different point-of-view characters as the years passed and people died or another character's life was better able to illustrate the times.
The details about the time period, cattle ranching, wars, politics, etc., made the story slow-paced in places. There was very little dialogue at the beginning and multiple years would be described in a sentence or two. The closer to the end the story got, the more dialogue and complex human interactions were added. If you're interested in what life was like in the southwest at that time, this story will probably hold your interest throughout. Someone looking for the action of a western genre novel, though, will probably find it very slow going.
There was some explicit bad language. There were no explicitly described sex scenes, but whores, sex, and rape were referred to. Overall, it was an interesting--and very large--novel, but it will probably appeal most to those who love historicals and southwest America.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.
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