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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
A Homesteading Family in Colorado is a work of pioneer fiction set on the western frontier and was penned by author Raymond Cook in his ongoing collection of heartfelt Western tales. In this mid-length novel of personal highs and lows, we are introduced to Ronald Franklin and his small family during the very end of the nineteenth century. Moving from Illinois to Colorado provides a huge contrast in their lives, but Saffron is the first to find her place as a church organist. Ronald struggles to do his best to provide proper shelter and good food for his family come wintertime, but when tragedy strikes him, his wife has to step up and do what few women of the time were ever faced with.
It was a delight to return to the Western world of Raymond Cook, where the real toil of real people takes center stage over gunslinging and overexaggerated danger. I loved Saffron and Ronald’s tale of hardship and the bitter realities of what life in the 1890s meant for those whom accident and tragedy befell. The prose is detailed and historical, but also light and flowing to ease the reading experience, and Cook always leaves room for his characters to breathe and express themselves freely as their story unfolds. This is an emancipatory tale of the strength of women at a time when they were seen but not heard, and as such, I think it’s my favorite of all that I have read of Cook’s work. I would highly recommend A Homesteading Family in Colorado to frontier fiction fans everywhere.