Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Stephen Bly's The Mustang Breaker~reviewed

The Mustang Breaker
by Stephen Bly
Published by Broadman & Holman
ISBN# 0-8054-3172-1

What can a horse wrangler teach a sophisticated Indiana schoolteacher?

In cowboy country, schoolteacher Develyn Worrell is trying to recapture the contentment she felt there as a child. Her summer is filled with adventures as a friendship deepens with the quirky Casey Cree-Ryder, but things heat up when romance blossoms between Develyn and Renny Slater, the mustang breaker.

Her veneer is stripped away layer by layer when she plays matchmaker, rescues a cowboy, and embraces the spirit of the west. Through her interactions with others, she comes to believe she's in Wyoming for a purpose beyond herself.

The novel opens with a dream sequence that confused me as a reader. That said, however, author Stephen Bly aroused enough curiosity in me to keep reading. There are some scenes in which Bly weaves a spell and captures the reader in a web of suspended disbelief. Like when Develyn and Cree-Ryder spend the night in the old, abandoned LeSage Mansion, home to a bygone countess. Some of the dialogue between the women felt unnatural, but the storytelling carries the day.

Reviewed by Ane Mulligan

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