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Little Century    by Anna Keesey order for
Little Century
by Anna Keesey
Order:  USA  Can
Picador, 2013 (2012)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

It's the turn of the twentieth century and Esther Chambers' mother has just died. Now an orphan, Esther travels to Oregon to file a claim on a parcel of land next to her second cousin's spread.

Cattle ranching is a whole new world for her and the adjustments she must make would have felled many another eighteen year-old. Calling her plucky seems too much like a cliché, but she manages to make a home for herself in a shack on the claim as well as making herself welcome in the small town of Century.

The main thrust of Little Century by Anna Keesey is the history of the animosity between the cattlemen and the nearby sheep herders. Dastardly things occur as each side takes their rage out on the opposition - burning a wagon, mutilating a pet cat, breaking windows, killing animals.

Cattle and sheep can't share the same pasture. A compromise can't seem to be reached. Little Century could be called just another cowboy-shoot-'em-up western, but it is far from that. The reader becomes involved with the characters and cares what happens. Esther finds herself almost having to choose sides. She is a moral person and lives by the dictates of her own heart.

Oregon, at that period in time, had a long way to go to catch up with the sophistication of the East, but Esther took the beauty and spaciousness of the state and made it her own. And she shares it with us, her readers. Little Century is well worth the read.

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