Fiction Jana Richman The Last Cowgirl

ISBN 13: 9780061257186

The Last Cowgirl

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9780061257186: The Last Cowgirl

They say you can't go home again, but sometimes, you don't have a choice

Dickie Sinfield was seven years old when her father decided to become a cowboy and move his family from their comfortable suburban home to a small run-down ranch in Clayton, Utah. From her first stock show to the day she turns eighteen and flees for the comforts of the city, Dickie bucks the cattle-ranching lifestyle and yearns for manicured lawns, housebroken pets, and neighborhood playmates. Yet she reluctantly finds herself drawn to the vast, desolate landscape of the desert and the solitude it offers—a feeling she won't acknowledge even within herself.

Now a grown woman, Dickie is a respected reporter in Salt Lake City, convinced that physical distance and a convenient but passionless relationship will erase the memory of her painful childhood. But when her brother dies in a tragic accident, Dickie finds herself back in the farmhouse she tried so desperately to abandon. Suddenly, she is faced with her family's past and a love she's never admitted to, bringing down the walls of her carefully contrived existence.

Accustomed to the physical boundaries city life entails, Dickie feels emotionally exposed by the fenceless expanse of the ranch. As she navigates her past, piecing together relationships, romance, and the pull of the mountains themselves, she finally confronts the pivotal moment of her childhood—the horrifying discovery that made her flee the desert so many years ago.

A novel that spans two generations and vast landscapes, The Last Cowgirl brings to mind the writing of Pam Houston and Barbara Kingsolver. Richman's provocative prose, pulled from personal experience, will strike a chord with anyone who has been faced with demons from their past and found solace in the space around them.

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About the Author:

Jana Richman lives in Salt Lake City with her husband, Steve Defa. She is the author of the memoir, Riding in the Shadows of Saints: A Woman's Story of Motorcycling the Mormon Trail. She invites readers to e-mail her at lastcowgirl@comcast.net.

From Publishers Weekly:

Richman's first novel offers a curious and satisfying blend of longing, political criticism and a middle-aged woman's sudden realization that she has been pretending all her life. Dickie Sinfield, 52, spent her childhood on a hardscrabble Utah cattle ranch, after her father uprooted her and her siblings from the suburbs and forced her to become a cowgirl at age seven. Fleeing at 18, Dickie never married and has been a Salt Lake City newspaper reporter for 25 years, all the while denying her love for her family and for childhood neighbor boy Stumpy Nelson. When Dickie's brother, Heber, is killed by poison gas in an accident at the U.S. Army's Dugway Proving Grounds, Dickie comes home for the funeral. There, she face her father's anger and bitterness, her mother's infidelity, her best friend's betrayal—and her own life. Amid Dickie's personal angst and gradual self-discovery, Richman unloads heaping criticism on the federal government's handling of chemical weapons and its treatment of civilian accident victims. Author of the memoir Riding in the Shadows of Saints: A Woman's Story of Motorcycling the Mormon Trail, Richman delivers a warm story of good folks who make bad decisions, justify them and then have to live with the consequences. (Jan.)
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Jana Richman
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