Where Coyotes Howl, a review by Di

posted in: 5 star read, Di | 0

Sandra Dallas

St Martins Press
April 18, 2023
320 pages

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I chose to read this book because of the cover and the fact that it was classified as Historical Fiction. But, it turns out that it is much more than that. It’s also part western, part love story, a lot of Americana. To me, it’s almost a fusion of Little House on the Prairie and Bonanza. (definitely dating myself)

The story takes place in 1916, in the dull brown prairies of Wyoming. Ellen and Charlie are the central characters. They are a couple deeply in love. Times are hard. They have very few comforts that most people nowadays are accustomed to having. Charlie is a cowboy, he works morning to dawn.

This book drew me in. It is not uplifting because the people live a hard life and sometimes desperate. But they are so stoic, they are their own support group. They are neighbourly, they do what needs to be done. They survive.

The relationship between Ellen and Charlie was amazing. Ellen arrives in Wyoming as a teacher, refined and cultured. Charlie is a cowboy, as tough as they come. But it is love at first sight. Charlie treats Ellen with love, consideration and respect. No matter how tough times get, their love is there. It is a love story, but not a “romance”.

At times it felt strange reading about the relationships between the husbands and wives. The women are happy to do as their husbands expected. So different from our lives now.

Ms Dallas researched the story by reading journals of the women who settled in Wyoming, one hundred years ago. She painted a very realistic picture of the life and times. Interesting and revealing. The times were hard but so many of the people stayed positive. Those that couldn’t handle it, packed up and left.

The ending was a total shock to me. But, I was glad I met Ellen and Charlie. According to the author: “Ellen and Charlie were ordinary, just like everybody else. There was nothing different about them, except for the way they loved each other.”

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the Advance Readers Copy.

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