67 books like Thankful for the Cowboy

By Mary Connealy,

Here are 67 books that Thankful for the Cowboy fans have personally recommended if you like Thankful for the Cowboy. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of From a Distance

Davalynn Spencer Author Of An Improper Proposal

From my list on Western romance rugged heroes and fiery heroines.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child, I fell in love with horses. As a teen, I fell in love with a cowboy. That’s how I became the wife and mother of professional rodeo bullfighters and wrote for rodeo magazines. Today I write historical cowboy romances. The Western way of life is down-to-earth, honest, and God-fearing—even in our contemporary world, and I’ve written several of those stories as well. But my favorite challenge takes me back to the 1800s when life was simpler. Not easier, just simpler even though people faced the same emotional challenges we face today. I love writing about their journeys and encouraging readers that there is hope.

Davalynn's book list on Western romance rugged heroes and fiery heroines

Davalynn Spencer Why did Davalynn love this book?

I love happy endings and that’s why I read romance—Western romance from simpler, not easier, times. There is always a struggle, an honest hero who is not afraid to fight for what is right and protect the helpless, and a woman who doesn’t want the rugged cowboy/lawman/rancher telling her what she can or cannot do. They are a perfect match but it takes at least one of them a while to figure it out.

That’s exactly what I found in Tamera Alexander’s From a Distance. I was repeatedly startled, anxious, sympathetic, and angry. Alexander is masterful at interlacing passion, promise, and pain in a way that ties up even unexpected loose ends. And I must say, this book had the best ending of all!

By Tamera Alexander,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked From a Distance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Determined to become one of the country's premier newspaper photographers, Elizabeth Westbrook travels to the Colorado Territory to capture the grandeur of the mountains surrounding the remote town of Timber Ridge. She hopes, too, that the cool, dry air of Colorado, and its renowned hot springs, will cure the mysterious illness that threatens her career, and her life. Daniel Ranslett is a man shackled by his Confederate past, and he'll do anything to protect his land, and his solitude. When an outspoken Yankee photographer captures an image that appears key to solving a murder, putting herself in danger, Daniel is…


Book cover of The Lady and the Lionheart

Davalynn Spencer Author Of An Improper Proposal

From my list on Western romance rugged heroes and fiery heroines.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child, I fell in love with horses. As a teen, I fell in love with a cowboy. That’s how I became the wife and mother of professional rodeo bullfighters and wrote for rodeo magazines. Today I write historical cowboy romances. The Western way of life is down-to-earth, honest, and God-fearing—even in our contemporary world, and I’ve written several of those stories as well. But my favorite challenge takes me back to the 1800s when life was simpler. Not easier, just simpler even though people faced the same emotional challenges we face today. I love writing about their journeys and encouraging readers that there is hope.

Davalynn's book list on Western romance rugged heroes and fiery heroines

Davalynn Spencer Why did Davalynn love this book?

This book grabbed my heart and is still holding on. I have never read a hero more committed to what is right and willing to pursue it at all costs, in spite of his imperfections. His compassion and level of sacrifice are unmatched. Both he and the heroine are wounded, yet in different ways. Her journey to trust is one that touched me deeply. Bischof knows how to write the heart and paint the power of redemption. 

By Joanne Bischof,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Lady and the Lionheart as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Heartachingly beautiful" - RT Book Reviews, 5 Star TOP PICK!

Virginia, 1890

Raised amid the fame and mystique of the Big Top, Charlie Lionheart holds the audience in the palm of his hand. But while his act captivates thousands, it’s away from the spotlight where his true heart lies. Here he humbly cares for his pride of lions as if they were his brothers, a skill of bravery and strength that has prepared him for his most challenging feat yet—freeing an orphaned infant from the dark bondage of a sideshow. A trade so costly, it requires his life in exchange…


Book cover of Courting Morrow Little: A Novel

Davalynn Spencer Author Of An Improper Proposal

From my list on Western romance rugged heroes and fiery heroines.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child, I fell in love with horses. As a teen, I fell in love with a cowboy. That’s how I became the wife and mother of professional rodeo bullfighters and wrote for rodeo magazines. Today I write historical cowboy romances. The Western way of life is down-to-earth, honest, and God-fearing—even in our contemporary world, and I’ve written several of those stories as well. But my favorite challenge takes me back to the 1800s when life was simpler. Not easier, just simpler even though people faced the same emotional challenges we face today. I love writing about their journeys and encouraging readers that there is hope.

Davalynn's book list on Western romance rugged heroes and fiery heroines

Davalynn Spencer Why did Davalynn love this book?

I was put off by the title of this book because of the name, Morrow Little. I mean, who has a name like that? Plus, I wasn’t a fan of stories set in the 1700s American frontier. But a friend insisted I read it, and yeah, my friend knew me well. I wanted to run away with this hero, but no spoilers here. Morrow Little embodies every woman looking for honest love and she has the courage to pursue it. Or follow it. You be the judge. Because of this story, I’ve read every other Laura Frantz book I could find. She has a way of capturing the setting and atmosphere and dropping you right in the middle of it.

By Laura Frantz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Courting Morrow Little as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Morrow Little is haunted by the memory of the day her family was torn apart by raiding Shawnee warriors. Now that she is nearly a grown woman and her father is ailing, she must make difficult choices about the future. Several men-ranging from the undesired to the unthinkable-vie for her attentions, but she finds herself inexplicably drawn to a forbidden love that both terrifies and intrigues her. Can she betray the memory of her lost loved ones-and garner suspicion from her friends-by pursuing a life with him? Or should she seal her own misery by marrying a man she doesn't…


Book cover of A Lady in Defiance

Davalynn Spencer Author Of An Improper Proposal

From my list on Western romance rugged heroes and fiery heroines.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child, I fell in love with horses. As a teen, I fell in love with a cowboy. That’s how I became the wife and mother of professional rodeo bullfighters and wrote for rodeo magazines. Today I write historical cowboy romances. The Western way of life is down-to-earth, honest, and God-fearing—even in our contemporary world, and I’ve written several of those stories as well. But my favorite challenge takes me back to the 1800s when life was simpler. Not easier, just simpler even though people faced the same emotional challenges we face today. I love writing about their journeys and encouraging readers that there is hope.

Davalynn's book list on Western romance rugged heroes and fiery heroines

Davalynn Spencer Why did Davalynn love this book?

I loved the heroine’s grit! Boy howdy, no one’s going to get anything over on her. The story is both gritty and sweet. Real. Full of truth and hope and opposition. Her setting puts you right in the action and her characterizations leave you feeling like you know these people. This was the first book I read from Blanton, and I have since read a couple more. 

By Heather Blanton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Lady in Defiance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

100,000+ copies! The best-selling saga of sisters finding love in a rowdy, frontier mining town! Charles McIntyre owns everything and everyone in the lawless, godless mining town of Defiance. When three good, Christian sisters show up, stranded and alone, he decides to let them stay. The decision may cost him everything, from his brothel...to his heart. Naomi Miller, angry with God for widowing her, wants no part of Defiance or the saloon-owning, prostitute-keeping Mr. McIntyre. It would seem, however, that God has gone to elaborate lengths to bring them together. The question is, "Why?" Does God really have a plan…


Book cover of Just Like My Dad

Natasha Wing Author Of The Night Before Father's Day

From my list on fathers and journals for daughters.

Why am I passionate about this?

My father died in 2020 during the pandemic so Father’s Day has taken on a new importance to me as far as reminding people to spend time with the people they love before they are gone. I had started to write a story about my dad and his childhood days before he went to the hospital, and with the help of his friend, was able to complete it for the family to have as a keepsake. I encourage kids to ask questions of their parents and for parents to write down or audio record the stories that they want to pass down. Children’s books and journals are a great way to start the conversation.

Natasha's book list on fathers and journals for daughters

Natasha Wing Why did Natasha love this book?

This is a sweet generational story about a boy who wants to be just like his cowboy dad. He accompanies his father at the cattle ranch and helps him all day with the horses and cows, and mending fences, until they both return home, “feeling tired and good.” But the best part of the boy’s day is when his dad tucks him in with the assurance that he’ll be a great cowhand, just like his father’s dad. It could be a good conversational starter about modeling for your kids, and asking your children How are you just like your dad?

By Tricia Gardella, Margot Apple (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Just Like My Dad as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Boyds Mills Press publishes a wide range of high-quality fiction and nonfiction picture books, chapter books, novels, and nonfiction


Book cover of Let's Sing a Lullaby with the Brave Cowboy

Carolyn Crimi Author Of There Might Be Lobsters

From my list on children overcoming fears.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love this letter that I received from a child reader: Ahoy Ms. Crimi! Your book Henry and the Crazed Chicken Pirates made me think of myself because the character Henry is really shy and cowardly, kind of like me sometimes. But I put all that aside and come around in the most sincere moments. Like this young reader, I, too, have my cowardly moments. I was definitely Piglet in Winnie the Pooh! Perhaps this is why so many of my books involve fearful characters. It’s a character trait that I relate to all too easily. Writing about my fears gives me some insight to them and, hopefully, it helps my readers as well.

Carolyn's book list on children overcoming fears

Carolyn Crimi Why did Carolyn love this book?

How can you not love a book with this title? Jan Thomas happens to be one of my favorite picture book creators, and this book clearly shows why. Her books are all surprising, quirky, and slightly absurd, three things I strive for in my own work. I love the idea of a cowboy who sings lullabies to his cows every night. And while this cowboy starts off fine, he is constantly distracted by scary things he sees in the dark, like a spider (that turns out to be a flower) and a snake that is actually just a stick. Kids love it when adults act silly, and this hysterical cowboy will have them howling with laughter. If you like Sandra Boyton, check out Jan Thomas’s work.

By Jan Thomas,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Let's Sing a Lullaby with the Brave Cowboy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Join the Brave Cowboy as he tries to sing his young calf pals to sleep on a dark, dark night-EEEEEEEK! IS THAT A HUGE HAIRY SPIDER OVER THERE? Oh, it's just a flower? Well then, back to the lullaby.
No one does preschool humor with Jan Thomas's wit, verve, and bold, snappy color. And her Brave Cowboy and his silly, interrupted lullaby are sure to get everybody singing-before they head off into cozy dreamland....


Book cover of Dalva

Thomas Ford Conlan Author Of Gentle Spirits

From my list on combining nature writing with an epic story.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a nature writer and poet who lives, writes, and tends his modest grapevines on a small farm in the highlands of northern Michigan. My study and my work delves into the mysterious connections between all living things. I've sailed the world's lakes and oceans and lived on the land from Alaska to California to the Caribbean. The natural world cannot just be described but must be experienced – all the writers on my list have taken this approach – as I've followed the lead of these great writers but in my own unique way. I would enjoy a day on a secluded river with each of them in search of the elusive brook trout.

Thomas' book list on combining nature writing with an epic story

Thomas Ford Conlan Why did Thomas love this book?

Dalva (and the sequel The Road Home) is a literary fiction classic.

A story of generations and places with memorable characters. Poetic prose describes the landscape. Philosophy abounds. Make no mistake, Dalva and The Road Home are set in the wide open west – the plains and Sandhills of Nebraska. Harrison’s rebellious characters become one with their environment. The storylines are never lost even though Harrison often muses about the past and mixes his thoughts into the present without skipping a beat. 

By Jim Harrison,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dalva as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From her home on the California coast, Dalva hears the broad silence of the Nebraska prairie where she was born and longs for the son she gave up for adoption years before. Beautiful, fearless, tormented, at forty-five she has lived a life of lovers and adventures. Now, Dalva begins a journey that will take her back to the bosom of her family, to the half-Sioux lover of her youth and to a pioneering great-grandfather whose journals recount the bloody annihilation of the Plains Indians. On the way, she discovers a story that stretches from East to West, from the Civil…


Book cover of Nebraska: Stories

J.T. Conroe Author Of Blue Hotel

From my list on small towns and big city crime.

Why am I passionate about this?

My family moved frequently and, as a result, I was raised in a number of different small towns in Montana, Nebraska, Kansas, Texas, and Massachusetts. I now live in a large city but the experience has never left me. There was always a certain amount of crime and corruption in the towns I grew up in, but I only had a child’s eye view of it. However, a child’s eye view is usually the most vivid. This experience and the books that I have listed above all had a direct influence on Blue Hotel.

J.T.'s book list on small towns and big city crime

J.T. Conroe Why did J.T. love this book?

This is a portrait of Nebraska (and Nebraskans) where most of my own book takes place. It’s also the state where I went to high school. I like Hansen’s spare and precise writing style because it perfectly fits the time and place, as well as the characters themselves who are presented stripped of the conceits and pretensions. For me, it’s a style, though different from McCarthy’s, that creates the illusion of actual direct experience as opposed to something I happen to be reading about. His story “Wickedness” creates a powerful image of winter on the Great Plains and its effect on people.

By Ron Hansen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Nebraska as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Stories of the heartland by the National Book Award finalist and author of The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.

“Nebraska captures a rowdy, changing America. Written with wit and brawny lyricism, in voices ranging from hip to tender, the stories gathered here are as diverse and expansive as the country they celebrate…References to America’s heartland abound throughout the book and serve as a central metaphor for what’s close to American hearts, what connects us: dreams, myths and possibilities as vast as the Great Plains. Wise and smart-alecky, creaking with legend and crackling with modernisms, these tales…


Book cover of Worth Dying for

Miles A. Maxwell Author Of Loss Of Reason

From my list on action adventure for Individualist.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love these books because they hold thinking as the highest virtue, and they value the rights of the individual. I like to challenge the norm. These stories seek to preserve and enhance human life through art and science.

Miles' book list on action adventure for Individualist

Miles A. Maxwell Why did Miles love this book?

Of all twenty-some books (and counting) in Child’s Jack Reacher series, this one stands out. In an interview, Lee once said, "I just wrote this one by the numbers." To me his final solo effort feels like he finally figured out how to say what he always wanted. It’s personal, yet geopolitical. Empathetic, yet very tough. In this tale of two half-cities run by rival gangs, the Armenians and the Ukrainians, he does so simply and brilliantly.

The story’s government is corrupt, as so many are, full of bribe-taking politicians who are unable to protect the citizenry from organized crime. To fill that void, in steps Jack Reacher with some intuitive detecting, a little romance, and a lot of bad-guy killing.

By Lee Child,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Worth Dying for as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

There's trouble in the deadly wilds of Nebraska . . . and Reacher walks right into it. He falls foul of the Duncans, a local clan that has terrified an entire country into submission.

But it's the unsolved case of a missing eight-year-old girl that Reacher can't let go.

Reacher - bruised and battered - should have just kept going. But for Reacher, that was impossible.

What, in this fearful county, would be worth dying for?

_________

Although the Jack Reacher novels can be read in any order, Worth Dying For follows on directly from the end of 61 Hours.…


Book cover of Pioneer Girl: A True Story of Growing Up on the Prairie

Joy Neal Kidney Author Of Leora's Early Years: Guthrie County Roots

From my list on family history.

Why am I passionate about this?

As the fourth “oldest daughter” in my motherline, and my interest in genealogy and family history, my trajectory was set decades ago to become the keeper of the family letters, telegrams, photos, pilot logbooks, and stories. After researching what happened to the three brothers lost during WWII, I also have casualty, missions reports, and more. Before publishing the first book, I had bylines in newspapers and magazines, and I’ve blogged regularly for several years. Because of the wealth of historic photos and stories, I began history Facebook pages for three Iowa counties, as well as one for cousins to share memories and photos. If you enjoy family stories, you’ll enjoy the books on this list.

Joy's book list on family history

Joy Neal Kidney Why did Joy love this book?

My Grandma Leora's family "went bust" in NE Nebraska during the 1890s drought. The McCance family stuck it out in central Nebraska during the same time. Grace McCance remembered so many dear details, like making horses from tumbleweeds, Indians learning German as a second language, the battle over wearing a bonnet, a pet rooster that liked to visit while feasting on grasshoppers. Grace was the second daughter in a family of seven girls and two boys. She hoped one day to make the most beautiful quilts and to marry a cowboy, which she did. They camped out the first night, then had their wedding portrait taken the next day.

Decades ago, I did a lot of quilting, so was familiar with the remarkable Flower Basket Petit Pointe quilt, which was designated as one of the top 100 quilts of the 20th Century by Quilters Newsletter Magazine in 1999. Grace McCance…

By Andrea Warren,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pioneer Girl as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Pioneer Girl is the true story of Grace McCance Snyder. In 1885, when Grace was three, she and her family became homesteaders on the windswept prairie of central Nebraska. They settled into a small sod house and hauled their water in barrels. Together they endured violent storms, drought, blizzards, and prairie fires. Despite the hardships and dangers, Grace loved her life on the prairie. Weaving Grace's story into the history of America's heartland, award-winning author Andrea Warren writes not just of one spirited girl but of all the children who homesteaded with their families in the late 1800s, sharing the…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Nebraska, cowboys, and cows?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Nebraska, cowboys, and cows.

Nebraska Explore 30 books about Nebraska
Cowboys Explore 72 books about cowboys
Cows Explore 22 books about cows