Award-Winning Fiction, Historical & Literary Fiction - Jamie Lisa Forbes - Western Fiction


– Recipient of the 2011 WILLA Literary Award –
– Recipient of the 2015 High Plains Book Award, Short Story Category –

Eden - Jamie Lisa Forbes - CoverRowen Hart has been raised as the pampered son of a prominent family in the small community of White Rock, North Carolina. When his father’s suicide turns his world upside down, he finds himself responsible for his mother in their suddenly reduced circumstances. As Rowen tries to find his way, he begins to question everything about his upbringing, his current circumstances and his plans for the future as they turn to dust in his hands.

Unbroken-Cover - Jamie Lisa Forbes - Western Short StoriesRanching is a life of extremes, perhaps even more so on the high plains near Laramie, Wyoming.  No one knows that better than Gwen Swan, who discovered that marrying a husband meant marrying a ranch.  She dedicates twenty-four hour days to the family enterprise while struggling to raise her children.

Her neighbor, Meg, who has broken from her family, expects unrelenting hard work as a ranch hand, but she is determined to leave her past behind and forge a new path with her son.  Gwen, who understands the corrosive effects of isolation better than anyone, includes Meg in her family and community and the two women draw solace from their companionship.

But there is little time for reflection on anyone’s part as the wheel of seasons grind on, bringing disasters and triumphs and a rough road for all concerned.  The prodigal Swan son returns and relationships shift, resentments surface and everyone finds themselves struggling against the elements and each other to continue their way of life.

In this remarkable debut novel the author presents us with fully formed characters that ring as clear and true as the picture of ranch life she paints as a background for the universal struggles we all confront.

Widow-Cover-Jamie Lisa Forbes - Western Short StoriesThirty years of brow-beating from rancher Bud Smalls has penned his wife, Leah, into emotional isolation.  Now Bud is gone and Leah owns the ranch, but no help is forthcoming from Bud’s brothers who want to force her out and take the ranch for themselves.  When their attempt to humiliate her instead becomes her opportunity to succeed, Leah begins to find her way back to herself and learns how much she can gain by opening her heart.

The Widow Smalls is just one of the stories in this outstanding collection of stories by WILLA Award winning author Jamie Lisa Forbes, who writes from her own experience of the hardships of making a living from the land.  Her deftly drawn characters include star-crossed lovers, a younger rancher facing his first test of moral courage, an inscrutable ranch hand claiming an impressive relative, a father making one last grasp for his daughter’s love and a child’s struggle to make sense of the world around her.  Each one of these characters will pull readers into the middle of their stories and keep them turning the pages.

Sunny Gale - Jamie Lisa Forbes - Western Short StoriesHannah Brandt’s family is preparing for the journey west to settle in frontier Nebraska when her father suddenly dies. Two months later her mother weds her father’s brother and Hannah is swept into an unexpected and hardscrabble life in the untamed Sand Hills.

Her charming but feckless uncle is soon disillusioned by the endless work and her proper mother is adrift in a territory that stubbornly eludes the trappings of civilization. A traumatic event soon transforms Hannah, who adopts the name Sunny Gale, determined she will embrace the freedoms opening for women who do not shirk at taking on men’s activities in their new land.

With a passion for horses, she becomes a skilled rider and through a series of alliances enters a horse race in the first Cheyenne Rodeo in 1897. In the years that follow, rodeo events open to both men and women. And so, begins Sunny Gale’s spectacular career as a rodeo cowgirl with its glories and heart-stopping risks.

Award winning author Jamie Lisa Forbes serves up a cast of believable characters, based on actual people and events that created the institution of commercial Rodeo. This is the in-depth story of a woman who refuses to confine herself to expectations for women in her time and always goes her own way, for better or for worse.



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Jamie Lisa Forbes was raised on a ranch along the Little Laramie River near Laramie, Wyoming. She attended the University of Colorado where she obtained degrees in English and philosophy. After fourteen months living in Israel, she returned to her family’s ranch where she lived for another fifteen years.

In 1994, she moved to Greensboro, North Carolina. In 2001, she graduated from the University of North Carolina School of Law and began her North Carolina law practice.

Her first novel, Unbroken, won the WILLA Literary Award for Contemporary Fiction in 2011. Her collection of short stories, The Widow Smalls and Other Stories, won the High Plains Book Awards for a short story collection in 2015.         Her law practice gave her the opportunity to travel many of the back roads of North Carolina and meet the unique and diverse individuals who inspired Eden.

Jamie Lisa Forbes - Award-Winning Fiction, Historical & Literary Fiction - Jamie Lisa Forbes - Western Fiction


'Unbroken', 'Widow Smalls', 'Sunny Gale' OR 'Eden'

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Award-Winning Fiction, Historical & Literary Fiction – Jamie Lisa Forbes – Western Fiction