"Untamed" tells true stories of love on frontier | TheUnion.com

"Untamed" tells true stories of love on frontier

Some 6,000 copies of “Love Untamed: Romances of the Old West”have been sold nationally since it debuted in June. The book is in its second printing this week.

“Love Untamed” tells 13 true stories of love in the early days of the American West. It covers stories from the Alaska gold fields to the Texas Panhandle, from the early days of trapping to the Wild West shows of the late 19th century.

As with their first book, “With Great Hope, Women of the California Gold Rush,” authors JoAnn Chartier and Chris Enss found their perceptions of earlier times changed with “Love Untamed.”

When she researched the first book, for example, Chartier realized that women, not men, built a sense of community during the Gold Rush.

This time around, Chartier learned that men were just as committed to maintaining relationships.

“Even miners wrote letters home. Their spirits were dying because there was nothing holding the community together,” Chartier said. “Our ‘Love Untamed’ book shows the ying and yang, and that marriage and family were critical to the building of the West.”

Looking back, Enss said relationships haven’t changed that much.

“We still struggle with relationships, as couples did in the latter part of the 18th century and early 19th century,” Enss points out. “There was no couples therapy then and they managed to make it without that. They were too busy to figure out what they were going to eat instead of ‘You’re not being sensitive to my needs.’ But they were sensitive. ‘Honey, I killed the wolves at your door for you’ – that’s sensitive.”

The authors are now working on their third book, which will be published next summer.

Their first book is on the New York Public Library Suggested Reading List.

Enss and Chartier first worked together on history projects when they did research for KNCO radio in 1993. That collaboration led to an audiotape about the Yuba-Donner Scenic Byway in 1995.

Today, Chartier is a visual artist, writer and full-time news reporter for KNCO.

Enss is a stand-up comic, comedy writer and screenwriter. Her next independent film project will be out next summer. “An Ounce Short” will be about an old Western entertainer who can’t find work.

JoAnn Chartier and Chris Enss will read from their second book, “Love Untamed: Romances of the Old West,” at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Odyssey Books, 11989 Sutton Way, Grass Valley. Call 477-2856 for more information.

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