—SEAN PRENTISS, author of Finding Abbey
Let the Wild Grasses Grow chronicles the lives of Della Chavez and John Cordova, childhood friends separated by a tragic accident, who find each other again during World War II after leading separate lives of struggle through the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, and, for John, abuse at the hands of his grandfather. This sweeping American love story celebrates the power of home landscapes, family heritage, and first love.
"Johnstun knows his terrain well, creating a palpable sense of the sky and soil, grasses and wildlife of the mesa—and the winds of change that swept through the nation for two tumultuous decades. A tender evocation of grief, hope, and dignity."
"Johnstun weaves together a lyrical love story . . . his rich writing style pays homage to what it means to be a westerner, and to the intensity of true love."
"In Johnstun's Let the Wild Grasses Grow, Colorado has a successor to Kent Haruf. This is a beautiful and expansive novel about two Hispanic families, their struggle to survive the Depression and racism, and their struggle to find love and their place in the world during World War II. A propulsive read."
—SEAN PRENTISS, author of Finding Abbey
"A multilayered, emotional novel that weaves history and family stories, from the Dust Bowl to World War II, seen through Hispanic eyes. Though it contains vivid depictions of the hardships and despair of the times, the power of hope, love, and community shines through these pages. Della and John are well–drawn characters that, by the end of the book, will feel like friends."
—TERESA DOVALPAGE, author of Queen of Bones
"An epic romance that spans from the Dust Bowl through World War II. It begins with a historical and agronomic view around Trinidad, Colorado, a southern farming town, and indeed that's where the wild grasses grow—but by the time the book ends, you will have traveled under the sea to the Pacific Theater of World War II and slipped into top–secret decoding rooms in Washington, DC. This novel tells the story of two Americans overcoming loss and prejudice, two Americans who persevere, who are bound together by love, by ambition, by intelligence and desire. This is a love story for people who love the earth, the dirt, the sky, and destiny written in the stars."
—DANIEL A. HOYT, author of This Book Is Not for You
"A universal survival story…Steeped in heart–wrenching historical detail, Johnstun's Colorado landscape evokes a sense of place and home so richly that you can feel that scorching sun, see those waving fields, taste that Dustbowl dirt. A timeless and diverse western Americana love story that will make you yearn for sunsets, hot chiles, tall grasses, and home."
—LEAH ANGSTMAN, author of Out Front the Following Sea
"A beautifully written narrative that speaks about universal issues we are still defining and working on today—like family, race, immigration, and love. Johnstun's prose is immediately relatable to any reader through its humor and the small, sacred, and compassionate moments that make all of us want to be a part of these characters' families. The conflicts that are overcome in this book, even though in an earlier time period, can give us hope, and let us know that we can get through the terrible problems of today."
—SEAN DAVIS, author of The Wax Bullet War
"Unflinching and beautiful, Johnstun's Let the Wild Grasses Grow is easy to fall into and hard to shake. It is at once lyrical and cinematic, an unexpected combination that perfectly sculpts the paradoxes of growing up and falling deeply in love in a country that both despises and needs you. This sweeping story spans a lifetime of tenderness, pain, adventure, and hope. The characters are sharp and witty, tough and warm, and so well drawn that I already know I will reread this book over and over, just to fall in love with them again, to watch them grow again, to mourn their losses, and to root for their triumphs. Do not miss it!"
—LEIGH CAMACHO ROURKS, author of Moon Trees and Other Orphans