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Posted August 18, 2001
Cigarette smoke curls upward as the old cattleman, Ben Wood, begins to narrate his story to nine-year-old, Cotton Mead. The year is 1909, and the town is La Plaza de Leones, Colorado. Times are changing in South Eastern Colorado. The smell and roar of automobiles are replacing the clip clop and smell of horses, but the storyteller has not changed his watch to catch up with the changing times. Lonely without his Spanish wife, Star, to visit with, the old man has moved into a hotel in town so he will have people around him. Ben still owns a large hunk of Colorado mountain and prairie land, but he has about retired to a tame life that will soon lead to a lonesome death. Cotton and his mother, the widow, Anabelle Mead, gently pulls Ben's story out of him and brings new life to Ben's barren land. Hill brilliantly mixes a blend of Old Spanish landowners, new Americanos from the East, and the professional people who came into Colorado Territory after the Civil War. In the midst of this story there is an old time Indian, Falling Rock, who knows how to cast demons out of a gringo who wants to marry one Spanish woman, but who has already gone to bed with a woman who is almost her spitting image. Stir in the beauty of the Huajatolla Mountais (Breasts of the Earth), tell the story in the lingo that a cattleman of the time would use, and you have a story that will not let you go until the very last gripping word leaves your head spinning! Perhaps the most fascinating part of the story is how the author cleverly overcomes Ben's dilemma with the two Spanish woman he is intimately involved with. As I was reading this book, I kept thinking, Mr. Hill, 'You have created a situation that can do nothing but crash into a rock wall'. On one hand there is Patron Sevilla's hot bloodied daughter, Star, who knows Ben is sleeping with a woman she considers to be a punta. A less skillful author would have smashed this whole story into a million pieces instead of letting the story end with the two rival women in each other's arms!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.