The Virginian by Owen Wister

I don’t have words for how much I love this book. It is the kind of book which you think about first thing in the morning because it’s the last thing you were thinking about before you went to bed the night before. You almost feel as if you were living in Wyoming, in 1902, and riding with this cowboy in real life.

The Virginian isn’t loud. Full of words or empty bravado. He isn’t forceful or aggressive or unjust.

He is quiet. Full of reason and wisdom. He is independent and strong and brave.

We never know him as anything other than the Virginian. But, we could call him by many other names:  Skilled marksman. Faithful lover. Hero.

I read this book for C. B. James’ Western challenge. It’s not a genre I normally pick up. But, I have a strong affinity for this life because I am a cattleman’s daughter. How well I remember going into the country with my father, being hoisted up on rough wooden fences, watching the daring of men on their horses, being sheltered from vocabulary which was not to be spoken in front of women or children. I thought that everyone’s father was just that brave. I thought everyone’s husband was just that true. I thought the good guys always win, and the Virginian reminds me that they do.

It will definitely be in my top ten list for the year, and quite possibly for my life.

(Here is a list of the best Western novels from the Western Writers of America. I wouldn’t have put The Virginian near the bottom. But, I haven’t read Cormac McCarthy yet. Have you read any from the list?)

:Find Becky’s thoughts here.