The Hearts of Horses
In the winter of 1917, a big-boned young woman shows up at George Bliss's 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 determined girl with a serious knowledge of horses." "So begins the tale of nineteen-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 him, and broken ribs and tough falls just went with the job. But when, over course of several long, hard winter months, many of the townsfolk in this remote county of eastern Oregon witness Martha talking in low, sweet tones to horses believed beyond repair - and getting miraculous, almost immediate results - she 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 in a sense of community and family that she's never had before.