Little Century by Anna Keesey

Little Century by Anna Keesey
Publisher: Picador
Publication Date: July 2013
Categories: Literary, Western, Historical
Source: Picador


In the tradition of such Western classics as My Ántonia and There Will Be Blood, Anna Keesey’s Little Century is a resonant and moving debut novel by a writer of confident gifts.

Orphaned after the death of her mother, eighteen-year-old Esther Chambers heads west in search of her only living relative. In the lawless town of Century, Oregon, she’s met by her distant cousin—a cattle rancher named Ferris Pickett. There, she begins a new life as a homesteader, in the hope that her land will one day join Pick’s impressive spread.

But Century is in the midst of an escalating and violent war over water and rangeland. As incidents between the sheep and cattle ranchers turn to bloodshed, Esther’s sympathies are divided between her cousin and a sheepherder named Ben Cruff, sworn enemy of the cattlemen. Torn between her growing passion for Ben and her love of the austere land, she begins to realize that she can’t be loyal to both.

My Thoughts:

This is a debut novel? Seriously? The writing is lyrical. The story is lovely. Anna Keesey should be very proud of her first book. 

Anna Keesey

A city girl homesteading on the high desert of Oregon at the turn of the century. That premise alone is rich with possibilities. Add in the range wars between cattle ranchers and sheepherders and you’ve got a very exciting tale indeed. Throw in well-drawn characters and a bit of realistic romance? Now you have an absolute winner.

I’m a sucker for good historical fiction and Little Century certainly lived up to my high expectations. I wouldn’t call myself a fan of westerns. Neither would I call myself a fan of romance. In both of those cases this book exceeded my expectations. Trust me, that’s not easy to do.

I found Little Century to be crisp and impressive. Highly recommended.

44 thoughts on “Little Century by Anna Keesey

  1. It sounds like a great debut! I don't read much historical fiction, but I might check this one out. Thanks for the review!


  2. I've noticed that you've read a couple of books that are westerns lately. Do you have a favorite you'd recommend? I'm doing a genre challenge and so far I've mostly just read like my usual eclectic self, so I think it's time I actually step out of comfort zone and try a really new to me genre 🙂


  3. I should have thought of that one! I really liked the older movie version of True Grit, despite not liking a lot of westerns and I do love precocious protagonists, so I'll put that on my tbr list. Thanks Jen!


  4. This sounds great! The only \”western\” I've read is O Pioneers! by Willa Cather, and I fell head over heals for it. I'll keep an eye out for this one!


  5. This sounds kind of awesome. I love historical fiction, and the fact that Oregon is involved just brings back memories of all the oxen I lost fording rivers… Sigh.


  6. Sounds like a book that really defies category – an good story, good characters, lyrical writing – that just happens to be set in the West, in the past, and has some romance. Love that!


  7. I'm also a sucker for a good historial fiction novel, and this one sounds like something I would enjoy. Anna must be a really good writer, to get such high praise from you on her debut novel, on both her writer and her story. I will consider this, most definitely!


  8. I was thinking about reading this book but I wasn't sure. I am glad you read it and wrote this review, now I know I have to read it. I am a bit of a sucker for homestead books. Must be all that Laura Ingalls Wilder I grew up on. 🙂


  9. I am a fan of romance, so well, taking into account the good impression you have of the book, I think I would like it even more!By the way, I have to read My Antonia, it's in my list since always!


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