The Seventh Book of Christmas

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This is the seventh day of my “The Twelve Books of Christmas” blog series. Each day through December 12 I will showcase a book written by a Colorado author who lives in the Fort Collins area. Please spread the Support Local Businesses love by purchasing a book by a local author at a local bookstore. That way your purchase will put a smile on everyone’s face.

Two independent bookstores that I recommend in Fort Collins are: Old Firehouse Books in Old Town, and Reader’s Cove on Harmony Rd. You can also find books at JAX Outdoor Gear on North College, Clothes Pony in Old Town, and the Northern Colorado Writers Studio at 108 East Monroe Dr. (Across from Tres Margaritas). Ask if they have any autographed copies in stock.

If you like stories set in the American West, then you’ll love…

For mature young adults

Twenty-two-year-old Libby works at a small grocery store in a luckless town in the rural West. Endlessly daydreaming, she sees herself becoming an artist, moving out of her mother’s house to have her own, learning to play guitar. When her younger sister Tess becomes pregnant, Libby convinces her not to have an abortion by promising to raise the child, a promise she never really imagines she’ll have to keep.

Thrust into instant motherhood when Tess gives birth and then promptly leaves, Libby finds herself caring for a crying infant and overwhelmed by the task. The colorful cast of characters who rise up to support her from the hippie beekeeper, Ed Mongers, to Miguel Mendoza, a single father widowed by suicide, and various other folks from the small ranching community–round out this spirited story. Libby’s lucid, painfully honest observations and her complex interiority comes with a fresh perspective on what it means to inhabit a world that has little room for optimism.

Pritchett’s characters deal with the hidden underbelly of rural life the drug trafficking, the people who make a living driving “illegals” over the border, the litany of low-wage jobs. As Libby struggles to make sense of the world, she discovers humor and courage in unlikely places. As the beekeeper Ed Monger says to Libby, “I think we should all be living more dangerous lives. We have to be careful, yes. But when we get too fearful, we become small.”

Publishers Weekly calls Sky Bridge a “compassionate, finely observed first novel” and Booklist writes, “In this spare yet haunting portrait of the American West, Pritchett’s powerful, poetic voice speaks with clarity, wisdom, and passion about country, family, and one young woman’s majestic spirit.” Library Journal calls it a “captivating novel” that “offers a gritty but redeeming picture of a family that never quite lets go of hope, and characters who are not soon forgotten.”

Laura Pritchett

Laura Pritchett is the author/editor of six books. Her fiction includes the novel Sky Bridge and Hell’s BottomColoradoher three anthologies include Pulse of the RiverHome Land, and Going Green: True Tales from Gleaners, Scavengers, and Dumpster Divers. Her newest book, about bears and their relationship with humans, is due out this Spring.

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