Thursday, March 13, 2014


Reaching Rocky Mountain: A Novel Based on the True Life Stories of James Nugent and Isabella Bird is now available as an ebook on Amazon Books. The paperback will be released in Spring, 2014 by Mountain Track Publishing.

It has been a long time coming. Ever since booklovers started reading Isabella Bird’s famous travelogue A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains, published in 1879, about her visit to Estes Park, readers have been curious about the character of James Nugent, better known as Rocky Mountain Jim. Yet, only a trifling has ever been written about him.
With a charismatic personality and an extremely handsome left side of his face, he was a favorite with the women. And that was despite the fact that he led the life of a rough trapper and was severely scarred on the right side of his face from a grizzly bear attack.
Children and dogs loved him. (And what better can you say about a man’s character?) He allowed kids to scramble on his back and play with his long curly hair. He had a good rapport with most of his neighbors and was well-liked by some men.
However, it was his confrontational relationship with powerful and wealthy Lord Dunraven that led to most of Jim’s difficulties. Lord Dunraven schemed to turn Estes Park into his own private game preserve. (Lord Dunraven’s underhanded way of obtaining land on the cheap is well-documented in the historical record.) Jim was opposed to Dunraven’s plan, thankfully—because would Rocky Mountain National Park even exist today? Would anyone have even bothered to try turning the area into a national park if it was only enjoyed by the ultra-rich and privileged?

Reaching Rocky Mountain Jim not only recounts the compelling attraction that develops between Isabella and Jim (and you cannot find two people more opposite), but also details the conflict with Lord Dunraven. Furthermore, the novel provides little known historical facts about Jim’s life, while telling the tale amidst a stunning, rugged landscape and a frontier just beginning to learn its potential. Hope you enjoy the book.

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