The Hearts of Horses by Molly Gloss

The novelist Molly Gloss ( has earned numerous awards, including an Oregon Book Award, a Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award, the PEN West Fiction Prize, the James Tiptree Jr. Award and a Whiting Writers Award. If you want a really ‘feel good read’ set in Oregon, The Hearts of Horses (2007) is for you.

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. 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. With a strong sense of place and character this is a heartwarming read which may be just what you need.

289 pages in Houghton Mifflin

First published 6 November 2007

ISBN 978-0618799909

Molly Gloss

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