So begins the irresistible tale of 19-year-old Martha Lessen, a female horse whisperer trying to make a go of it in a man's world. It was thought that the only way to break a horse was to buck the wild out of it, and broken ribs and tough falls just went with the job. But over several long, hard winter months, many of the townsfolk in this remote county of eastern Oregon witness Martha's way of talking in low, sweet tones to horses believed beyond repair---and getting miraculous, almost immediate results---and she thereby earns a place of respect in the community.
Along the way, Martha helps a family save their horses when their wagon slides into a ravine. She gentles a horse for a dying man---a last gift to his young son. She clashes with a hired hand who is abusing horses in unspeakable ways. Soon, despite her best efforts to remain aloof and detached, she comes to feel enveloped by a sense of community and family that she's never had before.
With the elegant sweetness of Plainsong and a pitch-perfect sense of western life reminiscent of Annie Dillard, The Hearts of Horses is a remarkable story about how people and animals make connections and touch each other's lives in the most unexpected and profound ways.
©2007 Molly Gloss; (P)2009 Tantor
This is a beautiful story that is beautifully narrated. Molly Gloss takes you back to Oregon and the days of WW1 where a young girl, the quintessential horse whisperer, learns about life in a ranching community. The characters are vividly portrayed and the story reminds one of the importance of life and relationships.
This book was going along great - a nice clean western story with good descriptions of the countryside and the horses that made you feel as if you were experiencing the things right along with the characters - even tears came when a local chicken farmer died of cancer .......but the book got disappointing at the end. There were only a handful of curse words - d*** - and mostly great content - but as the relationship between the girl and her soon to be husband advanced, so did the racey description of one of their kissing episodes - and in this chapter, there were several mentions of rubber condoms. And then after married, there was a description of their actions just before bedtime that could have just have well been left out too. I thought this was going to be a great book for my kids to listen to, but I am glad I listended through to the end - as it is not something that I would want them to experience in an audio book / at their age......it even left me feeling uncomfortable and wanting to fast forward past those parts. Too many great books are ruined by getting too descriptive........and really, it did not add anything to the story - but took away from it. Some portions of life are not meant to be talked about publicly - and if you are reading an old west book, you would just think that the more modest portions of life could be kept private. The imagination is all that is needed to fill in any blanks - and often things have more impact if they are suggested than if they are completely described. I purchased this book based on other folks reviews - but no one else had mentioned these portions of the book, and I just thought there are probably others out there that would appreciate knowing this information before they purchased. If this content had been ommitted (and it easily could have) I would have given this book a much higher rating.
A throughly entertaining book. I could not wait to listen. I wish it had been twice as long. A very good mix of history and fiction. You get involved in the characters lives as if they are your neighbors and friends. My only complaint is the ending seemed very rushed. It did not flow with the pace of the rest of the book. It was as if the author had alot more story to tell but was told to wrap it up quickly and did so. Their could have been so much more to this already wonderful book.
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