It's 1934 and the only way to get a divorce is to apply for one and then wait a year for the government to accept and finalize it, in the hopes that over the course of the year, the husband and wife will reconcile, thus preserving the sanctity of marriage. Unless, of course, you live in Nevada, where you can get a divorce in only six weeks.
So Clara, eager to get away from her cheating husband and his snooty family, heads to a dude ranch in Reno. The ranch is run by Martha, AKA "Ma" and her handsome son Jesse. The ranch provides a place for women to stay while waiting the six weeks necessary for a divorce.
Reno provides all sorts of excitement, from drinking to gambling to prostitution to quick marriages and almost as quick divorces, and Clara finds Reno a refreshing change from the stuffy lifestyle she is used to. She quickly develops feelings for Jesse, the handsome cowboy. But she knows Jesse would never want her. After all, she's damaged goods, and barren. Not the kind of traits men look for in a wife.
Meanwhile, Jesse is head over heels for Clara, but what could she possibly see in him, a lowly cowboy? When he gets the chance to play cowboys in the movies, he jumps at the opportunity to make something of himself, and,in turn, impress Clara. Now in California, he meets famous movie stars, and is becoming a star himself. Will he ever return to his roots? And will he and Clara reunite?
This was definitely not your typical "eastern girl travels west and falls in love with handsome, rustic cowboy". It contained different, deeper elements, like abusive husbands, speakeasies, the depression, the false glitz and glam of Hollywood, etc. It was outside the box, and I liked that. It could have been a bit longer, perhaps expanding on the secondary characters, but it was still good.
One sex scene at the end.
Overall, a pretty good book.