A sappy romance novel, gussied up with some sentimental claptrap about the emotional life of animals and lots of Walleresque hooey about men and women. About the only thing missing is a picture of Fabio on the cover.... Mr. Evans has absolutely no feel for the landscape he is describing and even less insight into his characters....It's a measure of this abysmal novel's deficiencies that Pilgrim the horse emerges as the deepest and most conflicted character in the book. Which is something you expect to find in a children's animal story, not in an over-hyped fable for adults. -- New York Times
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Screenwriter Evans's debut novel spent 38 weeks on PW's bestseller list.
While riding her horse Pilgrim on a snowy Saturday morning, young Grace Graves is involved in a horrible accident. She and the horse survive, but she loses a leg and Pilgrim becomes unmanageable. Annie, Grace's mother, senses that if Grace is to recover completely her horse must recover, too. When medicine and other traditional treatments fail to tame the horse, Annie moves Grace and Pilgrim to Montana in order to be near Tom Booker, a legendary figure who is rumored to be able to whisper sanity back into the minds of troubled horses. Tom works wonders for Pilgrim and Grace. Inevitably, Annie falls under his spell, and her marriage and family are put in opposition to her consuming love for Tom. This emotionally wrenching tale, read by Peter Coyote, is recommended for popular collections. M. Burkhardt, Univ. of Rhode Island Coll. of Continuing Education Lib., Providence.
The advance ballyhoo about this first novel, as well as the huge advance paid to its author, screenwriter Nicholas Evans, is more than enough to make the skeptical reader wince. Hold back those winces if you can, because this is a book of rare power and beauty, a story told simply but elegantly. Teenager Grace Maclean loses a leg in a terrible accident while riding her horse, Pilgrim. Grace and Pilgrim are both emotionally scarred as well as physically devastated by the accident. Realizing that the fates of her daughter and the horse are inextricably linked, Grace's mother, high-powered editor and journalist Annie Graves, launches an all-out campaign to find a "horse whisperer," someone who can cure troubled horses with only a calm voice and a soothing touch. She finds her savior in Tom Booker, a man well known in equestrian circles for his almost mystical skills with horses. Annie packs up Grace and Pilgrim, leaves Grace's father with his law practice in New York, and moves to Montana to try to convince the horse whisperer to help them. Most of the novel describes Tom's work to rebuild all the lives that have been shattered by the accident. Inevitably, love blossoms between the gentle horseman and the uprooted sophisticate, a love with both wonderful and tragic consequences. Expect this outstanding novel to be the talk of the season: it has a 600,000-copy first printing, and Robert Redford has already bought the movie rights for a cool $3 million. The numbers are remarkable, to be sure, but the most remarkable thing about this book is that it actually earns the great popularity it seems destined to enjoy.
From the Publisher
“Compelling . . . a real page-turner.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Gripping . . . a compelling portrait of three people who love each other but can’t break through the self-created walls that keep them apart.”—Chicago Sun-Times
“Fascinating . . . moving . . . a big, engrossing book [with] an unexpected ending that surprises mightily.”—Los Angeles Times
“Brilliance pervades this five-handkerchief weepie.”—The Times (London)
“Outstanding . . . a book of rare power and beauty.”—Booklist