Marcia Hensley’s memoir tells the story of a woman, raised a city girl in Bible-belt Oklahoma, who follows her dream of finding freedom in the West. In the rugged high desert and mountains of Wyoming, she creates a new identity, shaped by the two loves of her life: the beautiful history-laden land and the charismatic man who knows it intimately.
In her first book, Staking Her Claim: Women Homesteading the West, Hensley introduced readers to stories of pioneering women who came west on their own — now she shares her story.
Praise for Away From It All
Away From It All is about breaking and making connections, and about finding one’s authentic self, as well as a soulmate. In Hensley’s journey from Oklahoma to Wyoming, she proves, like the women homesteaders before her, that she can thrive in the vast and uncompromising expanse of the West. In lyric prose and vivid details, she sweeps you along on her journey.
Susanne George, The Adventures of the Woman Homesteader
Marcia Hensley’s intimate story conveys the complexity of life on the modern frontier. In these compelling pages, I fell in love with her Renaissance man, Mike Hensley. This book made me laugh and made me cry, and by the end, I knew she had proved herself worthy of calling herself a Wyoming woman.
Marjane Ambler, Yellowstone Has Teeth
Away From It All shows us firsthand that it’s never too late to follow a deep-seated dream. All it takes is the courage to jump full force into the wild cacophony of life. Marcia Hensley has bravely done just that and shown us the way. Her prose is impeccable, her story moving, her love of Western life palpable.”
Mary Beth Baptiste,
Altitude Adjustment: A Quest for Love, Home, and Meaning in the Tetons
Like the stories of the pioneers who have fascinated me since childhood, my life story has been a westward journey. I was born in Missouri, not far from where Oregon Trail pioneers began their treks. Later, my family moved to Oklahoma where I grew up and was educated.
My first westward adventure was as a college student working one summer in Yellowstone National Park. I fell in love with Wyoming’s mountains and open spaces then. Twenty years later an opportunity to teach at Western Wyoming Community College in Rock Springs finally gave me my chance to live in Wyoming. In the words of John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High,” I felt I had “come home to a place I’d never been before. ”Teaching writing, western literature and western American studies at Western Wyoming Community College while living in the small city of Rock Springs and later in the rural area of Eden Valley, Wyoming have all been influences on my writing.
I still see the western landscape, wildlife, people, and history with the same sense of wonder I felt when I was first introduced to them. For nearly thirty years I lived with my husband close to the Oregon Trail in Wyoming on ground homesteaded by the first settlers in Eden Valley and in the home they built over 100 years ago. Surrounded by reminders of the Oregon Trail and memories of pioneers, by the Wind River Mountains and the high plains deserts they knew, I found my voice as a writer and my heart’s home.
In the fall of 2012, I reluctantly exchanged rural Wyoming life for suburban Colorado life. Leaving my beloved Wind Rivers and our old homestead place felt like a betrayal. After five years of trying, I realized I wasn’t meant to be a city girl. Now I am enjoying life in the welcoming community of Laramie, settling into small town life, and getting to know the landscape and people of a new part of Wyoming. It is good to be back where I belong.
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