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The Widow Nash

A Novel

List Price: $26.00

June 13, 2017 | Hardcover | 6 x 9, 352 pages | ISBN 9781619029286
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“With The Widow Nash, Jamie Harrison breathes fresh life into a fascinating period of American history. Indeed, the past has not passed. The Widow Nash is an adventurous, ambitious, inventive novel by a writer to relish.” —Colum McCann, winner of the National Book Award for Let The Great World Spin

A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice

It is New York, 1904, and Dulcy Remfrey, despite an idiosyncratic, traveling childhood, faces the predictable life of a woman of the time. All that changes when her eccentric father returns from his expedition to Africa without any of the proceeds from the sale of a gold mine. It seems he’s lost his mind along with the money, and Dulcy’s obsessive ex-fiancée (and her father’s business partner) insists she come to Seattle to decipher her father’s cryptic notebooks, which may hold clues to the missing funds. When her father dies unexpectedly, taking the truth with him, Dulcy looks at her future, finds it unbearable, and somewhere in the northern Rockies disappears 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 own death and finds a small Montana town where she’s reborn as Mrs. Nash, a wealthy young widow, free from the burden of family. But her old life won’t let go so easily, and soon her ex-fiancée 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, timeless themes, and great set pieces. Europe in summer. New York in fall. Africa in winter. And the lively, unforgettable town of Livingston, Montana. This is a book that surprises with its twists and turns, a ribald sensibility, and rich historical details. And in Dulcy, Jamie Harrison has created an indelible heroine sure to capture the hearts of readers everywhere.

JAMIE HARRISON has lived in Montana with her family for almost thirty years. She has worked as a caterer, a writer, and a technical editor for archaeological, botanical, and biological reports. She is the daughter of Jim Harrison.

Praise

A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice

“This novel from the daughter of Jim Harrison features a character set loose to wander the American West at the turn of the 20th century, a woman whose early experiences seem drawn from the worldly peregrinations of the era of Henry James. Sweeping and richly hued . . . Harrison has rendered her imagined world anachronistically, but Henry James might still have approved.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Debut novelist Harrison paints a lovely and memorable portrait of a desperate woman’s flight to a new life…  Harrison’s lead is a strong and clever woman who is easy to admire, while the rest of the heroes, villains, and ambiguous sorts are as vividly drawn as the raw and terrible scenery of Montana. Readers will treasure Harrison’s rich characterization and sharp turns of phrase.” —Starred and boxed Publishers Weekly

“When Walton dies before anyone can figure out what’s happened to Victor’s money, Dulcy decides that her only option is to disappear. Thus, Dulcy Remfrey turns herself into the young widow Mrs. Nash. This baroque setup is nicely balanced by Harrison’s prose; the narrative voice here is restrained, with just a hint of quiet irony. And there’s the fact that, as fantastical as the scenario might seem, Walton Remfrey is an entirely believable Gilded Age figure…Thoughtful, richly written historical fiction.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Harrison […] writes atmospheric historical fiction featuring both drama and bizarrely entertaining humor. There are Whartonesque touches in the demarcations of society… [A] a subtler comedy of errors among a quirky cast of characters.” —Booklist

“With The Widow Nash, Jamie Harrison breathes fresh life into a fascinating period of American history. Indeed, the past has not passed. The Widow Nash is an adventurous, ambitious, inventive novel by a writer to relish.” —Colum McCann, winner of the National Book Award for Let The Great World Spin

“This deliciously ambitious novel delivers one memorable character after another. None is more magnetic than the “Widow Nash” herself, a fabulous heroine and irresistible travel companion. Jamie Harrison is a clever, gifted writer, and this shining book is flat-out terrific.” —Carl Hiaasen, New York Times bestselling author of Razor Girl

“If an Edith Wharton heroine had decided to ditch the bustles and the propriety and simply light out for a fresh start in the Territories, she might have called herself The Widow Nash. Jamie Harrison has turned her formidable talents to breathing life into just such a creature, with astonishing results. Not only do we get a pitch-perfect evocation of a prior time, but a subtle re-working of America’s great central myth—and its inheritor, Dulcy Remfrey, is so well-rendered as to make you forget you’re reading about any particular era at all. That’s the mark of greatness.” —Malcolm Brooks, author of Painted Horses

“From the profoundly generous and encyclopedic mind of Jamie Harrison comes a compelling novel of reinvention and the seismic sacrifices we make for difficult family. Every page contains a new historical and emotional discovery. Harrison is a true original, and she gives us a father/daughter love story for the ages.” —Sheri Holman, author of the New York Times bestseller The Dress Lodger

“With technicolor, vibrant prose, Jamie Harrison’s novel The Widow Nash re-invents the Western from a feminist perspective; from the first page, the fierce Dulcy brings the reader into her unforgettable world. A novel as wildly original and memorable as the West itself.” —Karen E. Bender, author of Refund, a Finalist for the National Book Award

“I really loved this rollicking tale of re-invention set in Montana of the early 1900’s. Dulcy has traveled the world with her eccentric, wealthy, prospector Father searching for new mines and a cure for syphilis. After his death the money seems either gone or hidden and Dulcy faces a restrictive life with her deranged fiance. She fakes her own death and disappears into the American West emerging in small town Montana as the widow Nash. There she builds a new life among the quirky, colorful denizens of Livingston and adventure follows. Harrison’s Montana is both beautiful and harsh. Her characters are richly drawn. I kept thinking, “Wow! Cinderella landed in Deadwood.” —Kathi Kirby, Powell’s Bookseller (Portland, OR)

“Jamie Harrison’s precise and mesmerizing prose carries the reader through an adventurous story of escape, identity, and rebirth with dynamic and fascinating characters. It’s an Old Western mixed with a Victorian classic, all with a fierce feminist twist. I read it compulsively.” —Katie Eelman, booksellers for Papercuts (Boston, MA)

“Historic fiction at its best, this sweeping novel features a strong woman, her brilliant but eccentric father, and the dark obsessive man who was both her father’s business partner and her ex-fiancé… Dulcy is a vivid heroine, brave, intelligent, and unwilling to accept the limits on women imposed by her era; instead she risks everything for life on her own terms encompassing the possibility of joy and meaning.  The writing is sublime; you can almost feel the winds that howl in Livingston Montana, the descriptions are haunting and make you feel as if you are there.” —Deon Stonehouse, staff pick for Sunriver Books & Music (Sunriver, OR)

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

“With loads of drama (murder! theft!) and an empowering message, this guy is pretty unputdownable.” —PureWow

“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

“A languid yet intriguing read . . . Harrison has debunked the idea that women in the early 1900s had no control over their lives and only looked to men for direction and happiness. There is a love story but it is not standard, and Dulcy certainly isn’t dependent upon a man to rescue her. All of the characters have the kind of quirks that feel natural to the reader. No one character is perfect, and Harrison shines at creating a cast of friends and associates that I would happily spend an evening drinking and chatting with . . . Harrison is artful in her writing and most of the events influence the plot in important ways . . . The Widow Nash delivers an excellent story. Harrison has crafted an atmospheric historical novel with original characters for readers to enjoy. Her writing is sophisticated and quick witted, ideal for a pleasurable summer read.” —The Missoulian

“Depth and breadth of awareness are the hallmarks of the new novel, The Widow Nash . . . An exceptional literary feat . . . From start to finish we are treated to her splendid observations and memories—product of Harrison’s astonishing pen—the trips, sights, people, disasters and miracles she has encountered across the world. By the close we are given to see Dulcy address what she has most regretted losing, not the riches, perhaps, but a life hers to live.” —Livingston Enterprise

“I loved The Widow Nash. It was one of those books that, when I read the first page, I could barely put it down to do anything else.” —Nancy Pearl, librarian and author of the Book Lust series

“This is a rich and interesting story about a young woman in America in the early 20th century who takes her life in her own hands and makes the decision to choose herself rather than succumbing to what is expected of her . . . I cannot imagine a reader who wouldn’t be entranced by her story.” —Historical Novel Society

The Widow Nash is a riveting narrative, filled with a colorful cast of characters, timeless themes, and great set pieces. Europe in summer. New York in fall. Africa in winter. And the lively, unforgettable town of Livingston, Montana. This is a book that surprises with its twists and turns, a ribald sensibility, and rich historical details. And in Dulcy, Jamie Harrison has created an indelible heroine sure to capture the hearts of readers everywhere.” —Bookriot

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