Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Hearts of Horses -- Molly Gloss

Here's another modern western that I really liked. The setting is eastern Oregon in 1917. Martha Lessen is a young woman (age 19) who's left home, for good reason, and who's looking for work as a broncobuster. Except that she doesn't break horses. She's kind and gentle and loves them too much for that. Her training is more of the horse-whisperer variety, and she's very good at it.

She finds work with a family named Bliss, and George Bliss soon recommends her to his friends and acquaintances. She begins doing a "circle ride" from one ranch to the next as she trains horses for many people in the county. Because of her circuit, she gets to know a great number of people, and they come to rely on her for things other than training horses as she becomes more involved in their lives.

This is a dandy book. Some fine writing, lots of characters, a little romance, some sadness (a couple of things really got to me), and some laughter. Great descriptions, and I got so cold at a couple of points that I almost forgot how hot it is here right now.

One thing I thought about while reading this was that mainstream or literary writers get to have all the fun. What we have here is an omniscient narrator, shifting point of view at will, telling instead of showing, and having a wonderful time of it. I had a wonderful time, too. Highly recommended if your taste runs to something a little more leisurely than the latest thriller.

1 comment:

Dan said...

On your recommendation I got this for Kathy, and she LOVES it!