Everything I look for in a great Western… and populated by queer women trying to live their lives the way they desire.
Esther’s forbidden love is hanged and instead of staying to participate in a marriage arranged by her father, she runs. She hides under the blankets in Librarians’ wagon only to be discovered down the road aways. There she finds out the secret of the Librarians’ work: they use their cover of delivering “Appropriate Materials” to the settlements in the Southwest to move illicit cargo to the forbidden zone north in Utah. Bet, Leda, and Cye are moving through what had been Arizona before The War, when there was gas for cars and people where free to love who they wanted. But now those relationships will get you the noose. Yet, Esther learns that these women are not just partners or sister librarians; their kinship runs deeper that that. And Esther sees in them a way to break out of the strictures of her past life.
A novella that took me to a beautifully desolate version of the barren wilderness. A place of six shooters, posses, and a restrictive moral code. But also a place of acceptance, mentoring, and unconditional love. I was struck by Gailey’s writing on every turn of the page. Their descriptions were the only thing that slowed me down in my glorious afternoon of reading. Pick it up to find a post apocalyptic western that loves, loves, loves it characters.
P.S. My highest praise: I talked to my librarian at my school and she has already ordered this book. Also, I have ordered a copy for my classroom.
5 out of 5 stars.
Thank you to NetGalley, Tor Books, and the author for an advanced copy for review.