A fantasy book centering on horses. It was part of the Weird Western Storybundle I bought in 2016.

Publication year: 2016
Format: ebook
Page count at GoodReads: 160
Publisher: Book View Cafe

Claire Bernardi calls herself a “failed academic”; she has a Ph.D. in Medieval Studies but hasn’t gotten an academic job nor been able to write anything for a while. Instead, she lives on her friend Dorrie’s half-abandoned horse farm in Arizona with two horses, a mule, and cats. She uses her psychic ability to communicate with animals to get a small amount of money. However, even that is dwindling because the owners’ of the animals aren’t happy when she honestly tells them what their animals feel. Claire can also sense all sorts of spirits and can’t live long-term in a town.

But everything changes when Dorrie sends two clients to the ranch. They want Claire to look after their herd of six mares and a stallion. Claire is suspicious because they offer her more money for a month than she should get in a year. But she agrees. Of course, things aren’t as they seem.

This is a lovely story about horses and nature spirits with some mythology thrown in. Claire can sense spirits in the earth, water, and air, all around her. She’s a middle-aged woman which was great. She considers herself a loner but she gets along well with her best friend Dorrie (who is a TV-series writer/creator) and Emma who helps her around the ranch. Claire doesn’t have much confidence in herself or her abilities.

The horses are the stars of the book. Claire has an ancient mare Aziza and a spirited gelding Ricky but the new horses steal the show. Tarr has horses and understands them very well, which shows in the writing. Also, the gorgeous Arizonan desert is very much part of the book.

This isn’t an adventure book. The plot doesn’t really kick in until near the end.