“Never Done” by Grace Dehlinger, a book about settling in Colorado during westward expansion. Albert Willin brought his wife and daughters to the San Luis Valley to start a cattle ranch and has prospered well. The family lives in a beautiful home on the prairie. After the death of his wife and sons, Albert marries his first cousin, sixteen-year-old Geneva, the best friend of his daughter, Clara. The story centers on his daughter Clara, who at the beginning of the book is a spunky fourteen-year-old, becomes a young woman, married to a cow-puncher, and living in a shack, finds life harder than she ever imagined. Following her husband Vincent from job to job and taking her children with them becomes a way of life for Clara. The animosity between Geneva and Clara makes living in harmony impossible.
After Vincent takes to the bottle to drown his sorrows at not being able to provide for his family causes he and Clara to separate and eventually divorce. Clara works hard and steadily at different jobs to provide for her children. Along the way she meets Jonas and after a year’s courtship, they marry. However, tragedy follows Clara throughout her life and she becomes a stronger woman for it.
I enjoyed this book because I think it gave a perceptible view of what life in the west was like in those early years. The work was back-breaking, the weather harsh, and the rewards few. Very well written, this book kept my interest throughout. I felt so much compassion and sorrow for Clara and her children and I kept wanting things to get better.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley.com and was under no obligation to post a review.