Whiskey When We're Dry by John Larison

Whiskey When We're Dry

In the spring of 1885, seventeen-year-old Jessilyn Harney finds herself orphaned and alone on her family's homestead. Desperate to fend off starvation and predatory neighbors, she cuts off her hair, binds her chest, saddles her beloved mare, and sets off across the mountains to find her outlaw brother Noah and bring him home. A talented sharpshooter herself, Jess's quest lands her in the employ of the territory's violent, capricious Governor, who...

Details Whiskey When We're Dry

TitleWhiskey When We're Dry
Release DateAug 21st, 2018
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Westerns, Adult Fiction

Reviews Whiskey When We're Dry

  • Diane S ☔
    Gunfights, revenge, desperation and whiskey of course. Whiskey has much to answer for, in this Western set in the Midwest in 1885. It also gives us a very engaging character, one who in a strong voice narrates her own story. Jess, is a young girl when a concurrence of unfortunate events leaves her alone on the family homestead. After trying to figure out a way to survive, and keep her home intact, she decides to ride out and find her brother. Noa...
  • Angela M
    Definition of Wild West from the Merrim-Webster Dictionary : the western U.S. in its frontier period characterized by roughness and lawlessness.This perfectly describes the atmosphere of this story. The historical significance of the time is wonderfully depicted here and in itself is captivating. However, there are other things that made this a great reading experience. John Larison gives us a character who could be described as a bad ass sharpsh...
  • Judy
    John Larison has spun a tale of the Wild West that will keep the pages turning - and I don't usually enjoy westerns. This story is told from Jessilyn's point of view. Jessilyn's brother left after a fight with their father, and her father died soon after. She was alone on the family homestead which she worked the best she could. She finally left in search of her brother who had become an outlaw. She cut her hair and bound her chest so she would l...
  • Liz
    I confess that I'm always wary of female protagonists being written by male authors (and vice versa,) but I found the characterization of Jess absolutely believable. I think a reason this is true is because, while there was quite a bit of focus on gender throughout the book, it was always more important who each character was as an individual, rather than as a gender stereotype.Very enjoyable and compelling read from beginning to end.
  • Tammy
    4 ☆ A western setting in 1885 post Civil War this novel tells the story of Jessilyn who’s DEFINITELY one unforgettable female protagonist - I just loved her spunk and craziness!!Whiskey is a creative and very unique story about coming-of-age, gender ambiguity, and how the power of friendship and love can blur the lines of race, class, and sexuality. Already optioned for film, this has been referred to as a feminist western - I don’t know if...
  • Virginia
    A brilliant adventure story that redefines home and family. Set in the untamed West, the reader follows Jess, a girl who cleverly disguises herself as a man to travel dangerous territory to find her outlaw brother. On her journey, she discovers what extents she's willing to go in order to keep her identity and stay alive. The people she interacts with both help and hinder her. All the while you're rooting for Jess to survive just another day and ...
  • Jillian Doherty
    Loooved this book- more so I loved Jess; she was the most realistic female protagonist I’ve ever seen of the time ~ who you want to see portrayed in a Quintin Tarantino film right now. The gritty open America of the Wild West is perfectly illustrated, while the characters and their dialogue keep you glued to their stories. Jess’s journey develops in ways you can’t believe, sometimes in ways you empathize with or don’t like, while brutally...
  • Kristin
    HOLEEE LORD. there is not a literary award qualified for this novel and I will not diminish it by adding my commentary on it. I'm humbled by the idea that someone who can write like this is okay with the rest of us jokers being allowed to read it.I’ve set my copy aside for my daughter with the same reverence that I’ve saved my grandmother’s china for her.
  • Shannon A
    Left to tend to her father and family ranch, Jess takes on a dangerous journey in attempt to bring her brother home. On the trail, Jess discovers not only her true calling, but that home is where you are. A sweeping and breath-taking tale of the untamed west comes to life as Jess recounts her journey of the search for home and family on a harsh land. I simply loved this wild-west novel. -Great read to enjoy a dram of Whiskey and for fans of One T...
  • Lydia
    WOW. Jess is a heroine for the ages. This book is incredible - if you like historical fiction, stories of settling the West, and powerful coming-of-age tales, you won't be able to put this down. Family, friendship, loyalty, perseverance - a fantastic read.
  • Portia
    I am doing the Book Riot 2018 Read Harder Challenge this year and one of the requirements was to read a western.  I am not a big western reader (I am incredibly squeamish and don't handle blood and violence very well) so I was daunted by this one.  That was, until our Penguin rep, Brian, came into the store and said, "I have a book I need you to read.  It's a Western."  I jumped on the opportunity.What I got was Whiskey When We're Dry, a we...
  • amanda eve
    This book took me longer than I'd like to finish, in large part because the book moves rather slowly through the middle. This isn't to say that it's poorly paced: rather, Larison takes his time, quietly ratcheting tension and upping the stakes while managing to create a deeply evocative and emotional landscape. Gorgeous, brutal read.
  • Lucia
    Whiskey When We're Dry presented very strong and believable historical female heroine. I was worried to read about "another girl pretenting to be a boy" character in literature but author gave her her own voice that made her stood out.Moreover, writing style had strong historical vibes which I appreciated a lot (there is nothing worse as reading historical novel while character and writing is too modern).If only there weren't these slow boring pa...
  • Courtney Judy
    I really really enjoyed this book, and I'm having a hard time pin pointing exactly why still. I think I still need to simmer on the whole book before I can put my review into words. The writing style could sometimes give me reason to pause, forcing me to re-read a sentence or two to confirm who was speaking, but overall I had no trouble imagining what I was reading like a movie in my head.
  • Kathryn
    AVAILABLE NOW! 5 SOLID STARS for a Classic Tale on the Wild West! Debut Author, John Larison incorporates many aspects of living in the Wild West in the 1870's. We see the hardships and the beauty of the frontier through the character's eyes, who encountered its beauty and brutality. It is a place of new identities and new lifestyles. It is composed of some, who have vacated their unfortunate past but not necessarily their nature and behaviors an...
  • Linda Quinn
    Whiskey When We're Dry is one of those rare books that you can't put down but don't want to finish. Beautifully written, this story looks at a time of Western expansion when there was very little for the "common man" and so many of them turned to crime. It's a family drama, a western adventure and a gut wrenching look at the reality of lives when nothing but bad choices are available.
  • Marilyn
    This book! I just read the last page and know I can not find adequate words for my review. John Larison is a new and exciting voice in the fiction world. Having spent eight years on this novel, it shows in his beautiful prose and character development. It is surely set to become the next American classic.
  • Patricia Uttaro
    Just finished this gorgeous, heartbreaking book and am still trying to process it. All I can say is get your hands on a copy when it’s published in August. Reminiscent of the best coming of age westerns, this one blows them all away. It’s News of the World meets The Sisters Brothers meets McCabe & Mrs. Miller meets Butch Cassidy, with a little bit of Peace Like a River thrown in. One of the best of the year.
  • KC
    3.5 stars. In the spring of 1885, Jessilyn finds herself an orphan after the death of her father. With her current homestead in ruins she soon realizes she has no viable option to work the land alone. She sets out imposing as a man in hopes in finding her estranged brother. The author paints a portrait of a true American western while weaving the harsh reality that comes with the territory. Coming-of-age, familial bonds, sexual exploration and ad...
  • Brian Wraight
    I suspect Whiskey When We’re Dry is the first truly feminist Western ever written. But even if there are others that have come before it (Enemy Women? True Grit?), there’s no way in hell any of them can touch it. It’s bighearted and heartbreaking, tender and brutal, tragic and life-affirming, action-packed and meditative. Bolstered by an unforgettable narrator and a cast of full-bodied supporting characters, it’s everything an American no...
  • Brandon Gutermuth
    Fantastic! I don’t usually like Westerns, but this had me absolutely riveted. I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to call this a modern classic.
  • Douglas Fugate
    At first glance, this is a story of Jess, the lone young lady seeking a reunion with her brother Noah, who is now a wanted man/notorious outlaw. The first half of the story reminded me of Mattie Ross in True Grit; here is a young lady moving with determination towards a well-defined goal. Half way through the book I was about to throw it aside as a poor imitation. At this point, Jess joins up with Noah. The plot shifts, the action and the story t...
  • Alex
    The Old West holds an allure to the modern mind. Between both versions of Westworld, Back to the Future Part III, City Slickers and The Legend of Curly’s Gold alike, as a society we can’t help going back there. Whiskey When We’re Dry, John Larison’s debut novel, is a return to a well that we can visit any number of times without ever exhausting the supply. The West was boundless in the imagination, and can fit many stories; Whiskey When W...
  • Lori Redman
    I'm sure I don't get all the details right in this summary, but here goes...Jessilyn is growing up in the early-mid 1800's in the West with her Pa and her brother Noah on their cattle ranch. When Noah leaves town, Jessilyn is left to care for their Pa, and eventually, she's left to fend for herself. She decides to find her outlaw brother, and travels to great lengths to find him. Knowing that she doesn't stand a chance as a single lady traveling ...
  • Kathleen Gray
    What a terrific read this is! Jessilyn aka Jesse aka Jess is left to fend for herself entirely too young in the post Civil War period. Her mother is dead, her brother Noah runs off, and her father devolves into a drug addict and then dies. She manages their ranch as best she can until she can't. Then she costumes herself as a man and takes off in search of her brother who is now a bandit wanted by the government. Luckily she's an ace shooter, whi...
  • Katie McCluskey
    It’s 1885 in rural America. Jessilynn Harney is orphaned at a young age, and is alone when her brother Noah runs away from home at age 16. Jessilynn hasn’t seen him in five and a half years, until she goes to town looking for a husband and the Sheriff tells her there’s a warrant out for Noah: wanted dead or alive.Having no other kin except an outlaw for a brother, Jessilynn takes matters into her own hands. She chops her hair, disguises her...
  • Laura Phelps
    One of my faves of 2018.
  • Marcia
    It took me a bit to get into the rhythm but once I did I couldn’t stop reading. An amazing story, a super heroine with guts and brains and survival instincts whose observations lend a fascinating perspective on U.S. history. Can’t wait to see the movie. I plan to read it again when the audio version is available. Glad to have received an advance copy.
  • Richard Gray
    With WHISKEY WHEN WE’RE DRY, John Larison creates one of the strongest female heroes since Charles Portis, infuses her with the same sense of inevitability of Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, but also maintains the grandeur of Larry McMurtry’s vision of the old west. So we might just have a modern western classic on our hands.Larison takes his title from a line in Gillian Welch’s ‘Tennessee.’ Specifically:Now let me go, my honey oh B...
  • Kate
    I would like to give this book 3.5 stars because it kept my interest and had a lot going for it, but it felt like a somewhat juvenile YA title. The fact that I had that thought while reading took away from losing myself in the story.Jess is a strong, complex, and imperfect character who made this Western enjoyable and different. It wasn't always easy to suspend my disbelief with some of the political correctness and acceptance, considering the ti...