The Jump-Off Creek by Molly Gloss is a story about homesteaders in the Pacific Northwest. In this story Lydia heads west after her husband dies to homestead alone. She buys a rather poor homestead and settles in. Her nearest neighbors are two rough cowboys who also ranch and a bit further away is a family with small children. She doesn't fear being alone and isn't afraid of hard work. By taking up a homestead, Lydia is able to work through her grief by seeking solace.
The author does a good job expressing the feeling of loneliness and hardship of frontier life. The story is a bit slow in spots, mimicking the monotony of daily life. The story switches between Lydia, the two cowboys, and some outlaws. I took a bit of time for me to get into the rhythm of the story, but eventually I had to finish the story. What would happen to Lydia? Unfortunately, the story just ends. There isn't much resolution to any of the characters. Instead frontier life continued regardless of the events or feelings of the characters. It left me hanging and unsatisfied. I think I even said, "Well, that's a dumb ending." Many disagreed with me at Amazon. I guess you'll have to make up your own mind.
Book Rating: 3 Stars