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Unbroken by [Forbes, Jamie Lisa]
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Unbroken Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Length: 324 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Details

  • File Size: 781 KB
  • Print Length: 324 pages
  • Publisher: Pronghorn Press (April 26, 2011)
  • Publication Date: April 26, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004Y6EDPO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #758,376 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Laurel-Rain Snow TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 10, 2012
Format: Paperback
Harsh ranching life is the centerpiece for UNBROKEN, a portrait of the daily struggles on the high plains of Wyoming. We first meet Gwen Swan, and from her perspective, see the back-breaking work of minding the home, the children, and helping on the ranch. Day in and day out, her world, along with that of her husband, Will, and father-in-law, John, revolves around the seasons and the tasks that must be completed.

I love this excerpt, which illustrates some of the struggle:

"As she washed the lunch dishes, it began. A rattling in the highest branches of the cottonwoods. A hissing in the tall grass along the riverbank. And in seconds, the wind was in full roar, shaking the trees with a fury. Gusts smacked the house in waves. From somewhere--where did that sound come from?--came the high whistling shriek.

"Gwen dried her hands and went to the living room window. Out in the meadow where they'd fed cows that morning, the wind wasn't driving much snow. Just the dry loose powder across the top. No more drifting snow--until the next storm.

"But that sound. It could go on forever."

Nearby on a neighboring ranch, alcoholic rancher Mather has hired a young single mom, Meg Braeburn. Years before, she fled her family home to be with her boyfriend, whom she married. But when the marriage fractures, she and her young son Jim must start over. She believes that ranching is in her blood, and despite the grueling workload, she seems to thrive on it.

We alternately see the brutality, the isolation, and the invigorating achievements of this life through the viewpoints of Gwen, Will, John, Meg, and each of the children.
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Format: Paperback
Jamie Lisa Forbes' debut novel, Unbroken, is a WILLA Award recipient and worthy of this prestigious honor.

Gwen Swan's life is an unbroken chain of cooking, helping her husband on their family cattle ranch, managing their children, Rory and McKenna, juggling finances, and working through Wyoming's harsh winters and sweltering summers with seemingly few days of reprieve between seasons. Gwen's hard-working husband Will centers his life around the ranch. His father John, a widower for most of Gwen and Will's married life, lives in his own house, but takes his meals with his son's family. John still calls most of the shots on the daily ranch activities. Will occasionally takes his own initiative, but when he does his father can be counted on to share his opinion.

It's up to Gwen to deal with her son's teachers and their disapproval of Rory's behavior at school. When Will becomes aware of Rory's trouble at home, his impatience is obvious, but Rory's grandfather helps smooth over hurt feelings. Rory especially basks in his grandfather's love.

Will's brother, long estranged from the family, appears and old bitterness and resentments resurface, further straining their lives.

Meg Braeburn and her young son Tim have broken away from her family's ranch. She's made mistakes but is determined to make a good life for them. She's hired as a hand on a ranch neighboring Swan's. The absent owner leaves all the work to her, with a stringy, unkept horse, rusty equipment and unrealistic expectations. Meg surprises them all with her ability and drive, and her resoluteness.

Before long Gwen and Meg become friends, their children play, though Rory often bullies Jim. The ranchers support and help one another with time, equipment and friendship.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this novel about a family and others making livelihoods cattle ranching in Wyoming over the course of 10 years or so. (If you hate the idea of cattle ranching, do not read this. 90% of this novel is scenes depicting characters doing cattle ranching mainly in the snow. I know a LOT about cattle ranching now!) I felt most of the main characters were realistic and well developed with the exception of the daughter, McKenna, whom the reader never gets to hear from much and the main character, Gwen...never did figure out what makes her tick. She is miserable the entire novel. These characters are flawed people who have the roots of cattle ranching deeply embedded into their souls, though they don't seem to like ranching much. There is a love triangle, sibling issues, and deaths which all revolve around cattle ranching. I never did figure out what decade the novel is set in -- not present day for sure.

What redeems this otherwise bleak novel, in which it is winter nearly always in some unknown year, is the beautiful and skilled writing of Ms. Forbes. I enjoyed the pace of the novel and found the whole thing just so gosh darn different from anything I have ever read that I looked forward to opening the book each day.

I hope Ms. Forbes next novel focuses a little more on character development and less on the weather and cattle. I'd love another novel with the same characters ... I know they are cool people and would love to get to know them better.
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Format: Paperback
Unbroken is author Jamie Lisa Forbes debut novel portraying ranch life in Wyoming and all the hardships families go through. The harsh Wyoming winter serves as the perfect backdrop for this story about farm life, family, friendship and heartache.

Wife and mother Gwen Swan is so absorbed with her family life and her daily chores, she really has little time for anything else. She and her husband Will work the farm, along with Will's father, John.

"The worst thing that can happen to you, Meg Braeburn, is to watch your dreams come true and then reckon with how shallow they were all along."
p.77, Unbroken

Single mom Meg Braeburn becomes a farmhand to support herself and her young son. She works on a neighboring farm that is owned by an alcoholic rancher named Mather. Mather pays her little and really doesn't care much for her safety but Meg weathers the worse of it and proves herself over and over. Gwen and Meg form a bond and find a much needed friendship.

We see the story mainly through the eyes of Gwen, Will, Meg and John as well as their children. There is plenty of struggle in this story as these characters survive as best as they can. Will's long lost brother shows up and this stirs up old resentments.

Heartache and pain play a role in the plot, but so do hope and strength.
Meg wonders if she is a good person, and struggles with being a single mom as well with what the townspeople think of her living on her own doing what is usually a man's job. She left home years ago with her husband, who is now incarcerated. Meg often wonders what would happen if she returned to her father's home and asked for his help.
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