Why I Listened To This Story: Being transplanted to Montana during my impressionable teen years, I went through my cowboy phase, having read most all the Louis L’Amour and Zane Grey I could get my hands on. In fact, I started being able to tell what was going to happen, which canyon the MC would get stuck in, and where the always faithful dun/roan horse would do the perfect thing for his rider, showing such an affinity between horse and rider, that I just knew I wanted to go work on a ranch and/or be a cowhand.
Fortunately, I outgrew that phase, because its all romantic in movies and books, but in real life, its just hard work and doesn’t pay very well. But the romance of the western has never really left the back of my mind. When we were offered the opportunity to review this audiobook, I just had to take it *grins*
Title: The Filly
Author: Mark R. Probst
Narrator: Jason Jewett
Audio Release Date: July 25, 2014
Original Release: October 12, 2007
Length: 6 hrs and 24 mins
Cover Artist: Matt Cresswell
Escaping into the fantasy of his books when he’s not working in the general store, Ethan Keller has lived a sheltered life in his mother’s boarding house. One day, an enigmatic cowboy passing through the small Texas town takes an immediate liking to the shy 17-year-old.
Ethan is intrigued by the attention, and the cowboy eventually charms him into signing on to a 900-mile cattle drive. Ethan soon finds that his feelings for this cowboy run deeper than just friendship.
He never knew that this kind of love even existed; and now for the two of them to make a life together in the untamed west, they must face nearly insurmountable odds if they are to survive.
Rated 8.5/10 Pots of Gold
I think this cover art is much more engaging than the original artwork that was used for the 2007 publication. The colors and image of the cowboy looking back at the reader as well as the ‘Branding’ that is used for the title seem to evoke the mood and time of this western historical very nicely.
A sure winner!
This was actually a very sweet, slow moving coming of age story set in the early 1800s. It’s about two young men, one that is just learning about himself and those around him, and another that seems to be a drifter, but in all actuality is trying to find someone just like himself to share his life with.
Set in old-fashioned small town Texas, we read a lot about good, hardworking, book-smart 17-yr-old Ethan; Willy, Ethan’s older tough and troublemaking brother; their mother, who has been raising her boys on her own for a while; and other VERY interesting supporting characters.
All Ethan really wants in life is to save up his work money to buy a young horse of his own. The rest of life, he’s just observing as it passes him by.
Then we are introduced to Travis, a young wanderer who comes into town looking for work as a cattle rustler. He reads as much older, but in actuality is only just past 21. Ethan falls in love with Travis’s mare, Cleo, and finds himself taking a second glance or two at Travis as well.
The book is separated into 3 parts, each having a major event to work through. The first starts out meandering and slow, getting us familiar with all the major players. The second is adventurous, taking us on the trail through the heat and beating sun of the desert on a cattle drive, riding through Texas up to Wyoming, and the third is all about prejudices, growth and life challenges in the days of the old west.
This story kind of snuck up on me, and had me wanting to see exactly how all could possibly turn out for these two. There was much sadness and tears, and when I finished I didn’t know if I was mad or just relieved, but it definitely had me on a roller coaster. The author has a gift for bringing the reader back to the west of old Hollywood, and I could imagine on the big screen very easily.
There is no on-page sex, and the story is told in such a way as to be very appropriate for YA as well as adult readers.
This would make a beautiful movie, and the words as they are heard through the narrator’s easy southern drawl, differentiating between character’s voices masterfully, made this a joy to listen to.
This is NOT a YA Brokeback Mountain, but more a very heartfelt representation of the author’s love and research of good old-fashioned western story-telling about two very sincere young men. After wiping away my tears, and putting away my mad, I am most definitely ready to recommend this story to anyone that’s ready for a real good coming–of-age western love story.
About the Author
His favorite novels are The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Maurice, and Gone with the Wind.