Foreword Reviews

Married a Hiker, Got a Cowboy

Clarion Rating: 3 out of 5

Married a Hiker, Got a Cowboy is about a life surrounded by the beauty of nature and the people who add value to time spent outdoors.

In her friendly memoir Married a Hiker, Got a Cowboy, Nancy Brown recalls her near constant travel and exploration with exquisite details.

Ever since childhood, backpacking has been Brown’s lifelong love. It took her to most of the American states and led her to countless friends and three adventure-filled marriages. She married her first husband young, and studied photography in college; both the man and the skill set accompanied her on long camping trips across the US and in Europe.

After her divorce, Brown married a college professor. They made their home in California and Brown continued traveling as often as she could, even after her daughter was born. After another divorce, Brown met her third husband, with whom she adopted several horses and donkeys. These developments are related alongside the joys of travel, elementary school teaching, and photography. Brown’s adventurous spirit comes through.

Describing the intersecting trails of the Northern California wilderness among other natural areas in the US and abroad, the text displays excellent visual acuity. Hiking in Yosemite, Brown “became acquainted with the tiny rewards of high-altitude plants and flowers clinging to outcroppings high above timberline.” Such settings and events are remembered in detail.

Anecdotes regarding friends and individuals met while backpacking bring depth to the environment and richness to Brown’s experiences, but arbitrary details about these people’s lives, such as where they were from and what they went on to do after their encounters with Brown, crowd out the text. There are too many people mentioned in passing to remember every name, though people’s presences contribute to the book’s friendliness and enrich its sense of community on the trails.

Scenes shift from one event or time frame to the next with little transition—sometimes midparagraph. One discusses Brown’s pregnancy before switching to an unrelated incident in which she and her husband thought their car had been stolen. Chapters are too long and run without breaks. The cowboy of the title—Brown’s third husband—does not appear until late.

Lovely, pertinent photos are included after each chapter to showcase significant people and places explored in the book. Brown’s three marriages are treated with respect, and her admiration for the men in her life comes through. The caring, hardy narration imparts positivity.

Nancy Brown’s adventure-filled memoir Married a Hiker, Got a Cowboy is about a life surrounded by the beauty of nature and the people who add value to time spent outdoors.

Reviewed by Aimee Jodoin

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Reviews make no guarantee that the author will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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