Nationally renowned horse trainer Shane Carson together with his wife Jennifer have created their own little piece of heaven in the Tennessee hill country. Their young kids Jacob and Tina are doing well in school and are genuinely interested in the horses that form so much a part of their father’s life. Shane almost said no when a dirty, terrified little gray mustang mare was delivered to stable to be rehabilitated. However, there was something special about the horse that came to be called Sloppy. Jen researched the broken arrow brand on Sloppy’s hip and found it identified her as being from a band of very special horses protected by the Shoshone.
In the blink of an eye, Shane’s world was violently torn apart and the only thing holding him in this world is his promise to Jacob that one day, Sloppy would be returned to her home in Wyoming. Upon arrival in Reddick, Wyoming Shane soon discovers the Shoshone mustangs, known as spirit horses, are in danger and releasing Sloppy could prove deadly. In order to carry out his promise, Shane must win the trust of the Shoshone people who take their guardianship of the spirit horses seriously and figure out who stands to gain by destroying an enduring symbol of survival.
This bittersweet debut novel features warmly drawn characters and plenty of horse whisper horsemanship. While the feud between the Shoshone and a greedy developer is a bit formula, the story remains compelling. Evans may be forgiven for making the spirit horses, particularly the lead stallions along with a couple of wolf dogs a bit anthropomorphic as it adds to the endearing story of loss, redemption and love.