Publication Date: 24/07/2019 ISBN: 9780857303189 Category:

Whiskey When We’re Dry

John Larison

Publisher: Oldcastle Books Ltd
Publication Date: 24/07/2019 ISBN: 9780857303189 Category:
Paperback / Softback



Mr B's review

After the death of her father, Jess sets out to find her outlaw brother. But, feeling vulnerable and alone, she goes dressed as a man, her hair shorn and her breasts bound. Larison’s novel is full of surprises and is hugely relevant to our time. It’s a tender, moving story about one young woman’s search for identity and meaning in a man’s world – with added gunfights, sieges, wild horses, sharp shooting and plenty of whiskey.


Shortlisted for the Historical Writers’ Association Gold Crown

A gritty and lyrical American epic about a young woman who disguises herself as a boy and heads West.

In the spring of 1885, seventeen-year-old Jessilyn Harney finds herself orphaned and alone on her family’s homestead. Desperate to fend off starvation and predatory neighbours, she cuts her hair, binds her chest, saddles her beloved mare, and sets off across the mountains to find her gun-slinging fugitive brother Noah and bring him home.

A talented sharpshooter herself, Jess’s quest lands her in the employ of the territory’s violent, capricious governor, whose militia is also hunting Noah – dead or alive. Wrestling with her brother’s outlaw identity, and haunted by questions of her own, Jess must outmanoeuvre those who underestimate her, ultimately rising to become a hero in her own right.

Told in Jess’s wholly original and unforgettable voice, the story brims with page-turning Western action, but its approach is modern and nuanced, touching on powerful issues from gender and sexuality to family and identity.

In the sweeping storytelling tradition of Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove and Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain, Whiskey When We’re Dry transcends the straight-and-narrow Western to land among the classics.

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