Descriptions of Works by Marsha Ward
The books in The Owen Family Saga:
The Man from Shenandoah: Young cavalryman Carl Owen returns from the Civil War to find the family farm destroyed, his favorite brother dead, food scarce, and his father determined to leave the Shenandoah Valley to build a cattle empire in Colorado Territory. Crossing the continent, Carl falls in love with his brother's fiancée while set to wed another girl, but he might lose everything if the murderous thug Berto Acosta has his way. Carl battles a band of outlaws, a prairie fire, blizzards, a trackless waterless desert, and his own brother—all for the hand of feisty Ellen Bates.
Ride to Raton: Thinking he's been treated unjustly by his father, James Owen leaves the family homestead to make a new life for himself. The turbulent world of post-Civil War Colorado Territory is fraught with danger and prejudice that increase his bitter loneliness as personal setbacks threaten to break him. Then James's journey brings him into contact with another wayfarer, beautiful young Amparo Garcés, who has come from Santa Fe to Colorado to marry a stranger. Through a twist of fate, their futures are changed forever when their lives are merged in a marriage of convenience. James and Amparo undertake a hazardous horseback trek over Raton Pass to Santa Fe, battling their personal demons, a challenging language barrier, and winter's raging storms.
Trail of Storms: Jessie Bingham put heartbreak away to tend to her sister's needs, but when she settled for second best in love, she didn't foresee that James Owen would come back into her life. The aftermath of the Civil War creates cruel circumstances for the Bingham family. A brutal attack on Jessie's sister, Hannah Fletcher, drives the extended family to flee to the West. They are soon joined by Heppie Bingham's beau George and his brother, Ned, who bring news that the Binghams are being pursued by cronies of Hannah's attacker. Even after they fight off that onslaught, poverty, bad weather, and Hannah's frightful secret plague their journey. Nursing her battered heart when she hears James Owen took a wife, Jessie accepts Ned's offer of marriage, but puts off the wedding until they reach Albuquerque. Then a stop on the trail holds surprises that launch Jessie into a bewildering tangle of values, emotions, and high adventure.
Short Stories and Poetry Collection:
No More Strangers: Prose and Poetry of the West from acclaimed Western novelist Marsha Ward. Six short stories, three poems, and an excerpt from a forthcoming novel make up this collection of Western treasures, including the never-before-published "Thumps in the Night."
Stand-alone Short Stories:
War Party: The Battle of Salt River Canyon took place at Skeleton Cave in Arizona Territory on December 28, 1872, and was an engagement of the decade-long Apache Wars in the late nineteenth century. In this short story, award winning writer Marsha Ward envisioned how it might have happened, when black smoke drew young Rolla Woods's eye, smoke where there should not be smoke. Then he heard the noise: high, piercing yips, and a woman's scream, and the flat report of gunshots. Bitter revenge and dawning awareness war within a young boy on the Arizona frontier.
The Usual Game: In another of Marsha Ward's taut short stories, Verl returns to his boarding house after a hard day working construction in the Verde Valley of the new State of Arizona. He's dreaming of going home to Phoenix soon with his wages, home to sweet Betty's arms. Then he finds his landlord, Fong, ensnared in the usual game run by the local card shark, Happy Sam. If Fong can't get away, he's going to lose the money he's been saving for years to send for his wife in China. High stakes action in early Arizona.