The Hearts of Horses
By Molly Gloss
(Mariner Books, Paperback, 9780547085753, 304pp.)
Publication Date: December 2008
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An elegant, heartwarming story about the profound connections between people and animals
In the winter of 1917, nineteen-year-old Martha Lessen saddles her horses and heads for a remote county in eastern Oregon, looking for work “gentling” wild horses. She chances on a rancher, George Bliss, who is willing to hire her on. Many of his regular hands are off fighting the war, and he glimpses, beneath her showy rodeo garb, a shy but strong-willed girl with a serious knowledge of horses. So begins the irresistible tale of a young but determined woman trying to make a go of it in a man’s world. Over the course of several long, hard winter months, many of the townsfolk witness Martha talking in low, sweet tones to horses believed beyond repair—getting miraculous, almost immediate results. It's with this gift that she earns their respect, and a chance to make herself a home.
MOLLY GLOSS is the author of Wild Life, winner of the James Tiptree Award, The Jump-Off Creek, a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, and The Dazzle of Day, a New York Times Notable Book. She lives in Portland, Oregon.
1. "Martha had set out from Pendleton meaning to live a footloose cowboy life and see the places she'd read about in Western romances-she hadn't come down to Elwha County intending to stay". What does a "footloose cowboy life" mean to Martha? Does she find it?