This is a different book than I’ve reviewed on this blog yet so you might be surprised. But, I did have a purpose in reading it. Part of the novel whose first draft I finished last fall is about when the main characters are hiding out on a ranch. I knew a few basic things about ranches when I wrote it, but realized that to make the details even more realistic, I needed to do some research about ranch life.
The book is written by a cousin of the Cowden family. What I particularly liked about it was that the chapters went back and forth from the history of the family’s ranching life to what was happening in present-day ranch life on Sam Cowden’s ranch in New Mexico. Some of the details that I read were things I never knew about ranch work such as what happens during branding, feeding, breeding, and shipping cattle. With not having the personal experience of ever having been to a ranch, it is hard to imagine all the things that happen between when a calf is first born to when a hamburger or steak is ready to be eaten. Now, however, those details are etched in my brain, and the parts of my novel that are about the ranch will be more realistic.
I also liked the parts where it talked about Sam’s family and how they homeschooled. I also homeschool my children and like Sam, my family is important to me. All of them worked hard on the ranch, but also took time to have fun.
In conclusion, if you are interested in the history of ranching life in Texas and New Mexico and how one family played a big part in it, this book would be a great choice for you to read.