Plodding memoir about a woman's Wyoming childhood and her adult attempts to live up to her ranching heritage.
When bestselling author Mead-Ferro (Confessions of a Slacker Wife, 2005, etc.) unexpectedly received the clothes in which her ranchwoman mother Mary had died, she was on the verge of giving up her cattle ranch. She had returned to her native Wyoming with her family to make a part-time go at the profession that had defined her parents, especially her mother, but setbacks and doubts about her own abilities as a rancher caused her to almost abandon the project. However, the sight of her mother's clothes caused her to rethink her plans and awakened memories of a childhood spent on the range. Her family's multiple Jackson Hole ranches were "literally the stuff of postcards and paintings.” Mead-Ferro realized that this beauty and order, along with everything she experienced on that ranch, were the fruit of three generations' worth of commitment and sacrifice. In tribute to her forebears, she chronicles their lives, starting with her great-grandfather. While he accumulated the land and cattle, his son solidified the family's reputation by becoming governor and later, a Wyoming state senator. His daughter, Mary, and her husband then became stewards of the land. The author provides some vivid details about the mechanics of ranch life, but her awkward, strained attempts at folksiness, marginally interesting character portraits and general lack of insight make for unsatisfying reading.
A mostly dull rendering of the author’s attempt to “live up to [her] birthright.”