The Last Cowgirl
The Last Cowgirl wins the 2009 Willa Award for Contemporary Fiction!
Jana Richman’s novel, The Last Cowgirl, was awarded the 2009 Willa Award named in honor of Pulitzer Prize winner Willa Cather. The Willa Award is given annually for outstanding literature featuring women’s stories set in the West. The winner is chosen by a distinguished panel of twenty-one professional librarians.
From the book jacket of The Last Cowgirl:
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 manicure 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.
Praise for The Last Cowgirl
“Richman’s mastery of the emotional geography is illuminating and calls to mind the work of Pat Conroy.” –Kirkus Reviews
“A warm story of good folks who make bad decisions and then have to live with them.” –Publishers Weekly
“Readers will be irrevocably drawn into this top-notch fictional debut from an amazing new talent.” –Booklist