We have updated our Privacy Policy Please take a moment to review it. By continuing to use this site, you agree to the terms of our updated Privacy Policy.

Marian Forrester brings delight to her husband, an elderly railroad pioneer; to the small town of Sweet Water where they live; and to Niel Herbert, the young narrator of her story, who falls in love with her as a boy and later becomes her confidant. He witnesses this vibrant woman in all her contradictory facets: by turns faithless and steadfast, dazzling and pathetic, invincibly charming yet dangerously vulnerable to the men she charms. All are bewitched by her charisma and grace – and all are ultimately betrayed.

‘This classic has the striking economy of Hemingway, and is as poignant an elegy for the pioneer West as I have read. The vivacious Marian Forrester stands as a romantic paean to the pioneer’s reckless abandon, counterpointed by the narrator’s prim decency’ The Times

Reviews

She is undoubtedly one of the twentieth century's greatest American writers
OBSERVER
Willa Cather makes a world which is burningly alive, sometimes lovely, often tragic
HELEN DUNMORE
A poised and perfectly shaped novel
DAILY MAIL
Her finest novel . . . A masterpiece
IRISH TIMES