Lonesome Dove is lauded as a masterpiece of historical fiction. And honestly, I cannot argue with the evaluation of the writing. The prose is smooth and the plot is solid. The characters are… not necessarily super multi-dimensional, but the primary cast are believable and generally sympathetic. Unless they're really just not supposed to be. Life on the frontier was never easy, and choices made often came with unavoidable consequences.

Unfortunately, it's just not my cup of tea. For all the strength of the writing, it struck me as cliche, and too concerned with sex and shallow romance. Particularly when there's so much to explore in the realm of the deep relationships built between soldiers and cowboys who have lived and fought together for decades.

The saving grace is Clara. A capable woman, left functionally a widow, running a ranch alone (well, with a distantly besotted ranch hand and her two very young daughters). She takes in the strays who need looking after, and makes it clear that she needs none of them to save her. Lost opportunities might make for occasional melancholy, but she has no regrets and no time to start a list now. She will be fine, thank you.

So… summary? Do I regret reading it? No. Will I ever sing the praises? Also no. Make of that what you will.