The Widow Nash
by Jamie Harrison

Overview - Winner of the 2017 Reading the West Award

A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice

"What keeps you reading is not just the quality of the writing, which is just absolutely wonderful, but also to find out: Is Dulcy] going to remake herself]?  Read more...

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More About The Widow Nash by Jamie Harrison
Winner of the 2017 Reading the West Award

A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice

"What keeps you reading is not just the quality of the writing, which is just absolutely wonderful, but also to find out: Is Dulcy] going to remake herself]? Can this be successful? Or is she going to be found out?" ―Nancy Pearl, Morning Edition, NPR

Dulcy Remfrey has traveled the globe with her eccentric father, Walton, a wealthy entrepreneur obsessed with earthquakes and catastrophe, searching to cure his long battle with syphilis through any crackpot means necessary. Their deep connection is tested, however, when Walton returns from an African expedition without any of the proceeds from the sale of his gold mine. It seems he's lost his mind along with the great sum of money, his health declining rapidly. Her father's business partner (and her ex-fianc ) insists Dulcy come to Seattle to decipher her father's cryptic notebooks--a dozen in all, wrapped in brightly colored silk--which may hold clues to the missing funds. Yet when her father dies before they can locate the money, Dulcy falls under suspicion. Petrified of being forced to spend the rest of her life with her ex-love, Dulcy decides to disappear from the train bringing her father's body home.

Is it possible to disappear from your old life and create another? Dulcy travels the West reading stories about her presumed death and settles into a small Montana town where she is reborn as Mrs. Nash, a wealthy young widow with no burden of family. But her old life won't let go so easily, and soon her ex-fianc is on her trail, threatening the new life she is so eager to create.

The Widow Nash is a riveting narrative, filled with a colorful cast of characters, rich historical details, and epic set pieces. Europe in summer. New York in fall. Africa in winter. The lively, unforgettable town of Livingston, Montana. And in Dulcy, Jamie Harrison has created an indelible heroine sure to capture the hearts of readers everywhere.

"This gorgeously written historical novel follows Dulcy, a young woman in 1904 who attempts to flee her late father's business problems―and her violent ex-fiance's grasp―by traveling west and posing as a wealthy widow." ―Entertainment Weekly

  • ISBN-13: 9781619029286
  • ISBN-10: 1619029286
  • Publisher: Counterpoint LLC
  • Publish Date: June 2017
  • Page Count: 352
  • Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds

Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Historical - General
Books > Fiction > Literary

BookPage Reviews

Land of lawlessness

Two historical novels offer searingly good stories set in the raw and dangerous American West.

Set in 1876 Wyoming, Dragon Teeth is a “found” manuscript from the great Michael Crichton, who died in 2008. Not a typical Crichton blockbuster, it draws from the best of Western fiction. (Think shootouts and a villain whose entrance makes the saloon music halt.)

On a foolish bet, sheltered Yale student William Johnson joins a summer expedition to Wyoming, where he assists a paleontologist digging up dinosaur bones. They hit the jackpot, unearthing a previously undiscovered skeleton. But Native Americans, water buffalo herds and a scheming, rival paleontologist send the expedition packing. Johnson is separated from the group and finds himself in a rough town with the deliciously perfect name of Deadwood. On his first morning, he steps outside the hotel to find a body in the street. “Flies buzzed around the body; three or four loungers stood over it, smoking cigars and discussing its former owner, but no one made any attempt to move the corpse, and the passing teams of horses just wheeled past it.” This is, needless to say, a long way from the rarified air of New Haven. Burdened with crates of fossils he feels compelled to protect, Johnson is challenged for the first time in his life to survive on his own wits, not his parents’ money.

Full of twists and a cool appearance by the Earp brothers, Dragon Teeth is both thrilling and thought-provoking.

Also fighting for survival is Dulcy Remfrey, the heroine of Jamie Harrison’s debut, The Widow Nash, set in turn-of-the-century Washington and Montana. Dulcy is fleeing her abusive ex-fiancé, Victor, but two factors complicate her efforts: One, Victor is her father’s business partner, and two, her dear father has just died after suffering for years from syphilis. While accompanying her father’s body on a train from Seattle to New York, Dulcy disappears—or so it seems.

Actually, Dulcy fakes her own suicide and slips off the train in windy Livingston, Montana, where she becomes Maria Nash, a recent widow. Although she tries to keep to herself in this “place where she’d stopped being herself,” Dulcy gradually becomes part of the colorful Livingston community, with its corrupt police, promiscuous innkeeper and gossipy women. After a lifetime of attending to her father while he searched the globe for a cure for his illness, this is the first time Dulcy has been truly alone. She buys a home and plants a garden, reads stacks of books and quietly starts a tentative romance with a writer.

“She had finally peeled off her old life, lost her ability to fret over secrets before this new one,” Harrison writes. But a slip-up in Dulcy’s carefully cultivated new life could lead Victor right to her door.

Richly descriptive, The Widow Nash is the luminous story of a woman suspended between two worlds, one promising, the other catastrophic.


This article was originally published in the June 2017 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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