Tracking multiple story lines and character arcs over decades, Appaloosa Sky jumps in time by a decade or more each chapter, with Ginny first being introduced in 1944 and, less than halfway through the novel’s pages, appearing in 2018. The story is jam-packed: A marriage, a death, and a miscarriage all unfold within a four-page stretch early on, and readers are given just half a page to digest this before a new character is introduced. The family history is exciting and surprising, its incidents told with wit and persuasive detail, though the approach denies readers interiority.
The story promises and delivers on action, humor, and romantic intrigue, all written with warmth and sincerity. Not every reader speaks like North Texans, whose speech is filled with “cain’t” and “hoss,” but every reader will understand the novel’s wild freedom of open spaces and its portrayal of the comfort that comes with a caring, proudly untamed family. As Catfish tells Ginny, “Sometimes in life, it’s our turn to be the one who needs help. Other times, it’s up to us to be the helpers.”
Takeaway: This wild family saga will appeal to adult readers looking for romance and intergenerational struggle on the plains of Texas.
Great for fans of: Sandra Brown, Larry McMurtry, Jane Smiley.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: B+