Synopses & Reviews
This breakout novel from the author of The Jump-Off Creek tells the heartwarming story of a determined young woman with a gift for gentling” wild horses.
In the winter of 1917, a big-boned young woman shows up at George Blisss doorstep. She's looking for a job breaking horses, and he hires 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 nineteen-year-old Martha Lessen, a female horse whisperer trying to make a go of it in a mans 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 repairand getting miraculous, almost immediate resultsand 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 mana 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 shes 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.
PEN/Faulkner Award Finalist and winner of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award. William Kittredge called The Jump-Off Creek "a truly beautiful piece of American storytelling." The struggles of a widowed homesteader braving the austere and unsparing Blue Mountains contain "enough valor to make an ordinary life seem heroic" (Los Angeles Times). Told with Molly Gloss's unsentimental reserve, this novel is an inspiring reminder of a rich and uniquely American past. (A Mariner Reissue)
A reading group favorite, The Jump-Off Creek is the unforgettable story of widowed homesteader Lydia Sanderson and her struggles to settle in the mountains of Oregon in the 1890s. Every gritty line of the story rings true” (Seattle Times) as Molly Gloss delivers an authentic and moving portrait of the American West. A powerful novel of struggle and loss” (Dallas Morning News), The Jump-Off Creek gives readers an intimate look at the hardships of frontier life and a courageous woman determined to survive.
About the Author
MOLLY GLOSS is the best-selling author The Hearts of Horses, The Jump-Off Creek, winner of both the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award and the Oregon Book Award, The Dazzle of Day, winner of the PEN Center West Fiction Prize, and Wild Life, winner of the James Tiptree Jr. Award.