Painted Horses

Painted Horses

Large Print - 2015
Average Rating:
Rate this:
"Engrossing . . . The best novels are not just written but built--scene by scene, character by character--until a world emerges for readers to fall into. "Painted Horses" creates several worlds in a seamless and ambitious blend of history, romance, archaeology and nature. . . . Hard to forget." --Bob Minzesheimer, "USA Today" (4 out of 4 stars)
In the mid-1950s, America was flush with prosperity and saw an unbroken line of progress clear to the horizon, while the West was still very much wild. In "Painted Horses," now in paperback, a dauntless woman travels into that untamed landscape in an adventure that will change her life. Catherine Lemay is a young archaeologist who's come to Montana with a huge task before her--a canyon "as deep as the devil's own appetites." Working ahead of a major dam project, she has one summer to prove nothing of historical value will be lost in the flood. From the moment she arrives, nothing is what she expects. John H is a former mustanger with an intuitive genius for breaking horses. A veteran of the U.S. Army's last mounted cavalry campaign, he lives a fugitive life, driven by pursuit of one last wild thing. John H inspires Catherine to see beauty in the stark landscape, and her heart opens to more than just the vanished past. "Painted Horses" sings a love song to the horseman's vanishing way of life and reminds us that love and ambition, tradition and progress, often make strange bedfellows.
"Extraordinary . . . Surprising and satisfying . . . Brooks has fashioned compelling and sympathetic protagonists. . . . John H--orphan, rail rider, cowboy, World War II veteran, Paris artist, canyon hermit--in particular, has a backstory that is both intimate and sweeping in a way that may remind readers of Michael Ondaatje's "The English Patient." . . . "Painted Horses" is, after all, one of those big, old-fashioned novels where the mundane and the unlikely coexist."--Kent Black, "Boston Globe"
"Malcolm Brooks' novel has the hard thrill of the West, when it was still a new world, the tenderness of first love and the pain of knowledge. This book is a gripping, compulsively readable page-turner."--Amy Bloom, author of "Away"
Publisher: Waterville, ME : Thorndike Press, 2015, 2014
Edition: Large print ed
ISBN: 9781410475114
Branch Call Number: FIC BROOK M


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Oct 22, 2017

A brilliant novel, set in the American west but not a genre "western." Instead, it's about a young archeologist accepting her first professional job in America's west (l950s). She tries to protect ancient canyon art showing "painted horses", from plans to inundate the sacred area with a reservoir. She learns much about herself and a young horseman who befriends her. Rich, descriptive writing and mature themes.

Aug 07, 2015

We're transported to 1950s Montana when Catherine Lemay is hired to do an archeological survey of a canyon set to be flooded for a power project.
While there is much to commend in Brooks’s Painted Horses, lush writing, characters with interesting back stories and a compelling story line with many twists and turns, in the end I just wanted to be done with it. A sparer story without all the asides and the stereotype good guys and bad guys was what I wished for. You could see this ending coming pages and pages before it happened.

Jun 04, 2015

Good story.

DPLheather Mar 04, 2015

A good Western without stereotyping. Combines archaeology, WWII, and Montana, plus a beautiful and believable love story.

ChristchurchLib Sep 17, 2014

In the 1950s, archeologist Catherine Lemay heads to Montana as a member of the River Basin Survey, tasked with searching for evidence of indigenous human habitation in a canyon soon to be inundated by the flood waters generated by a proposed hydroelectric dam. When Catherine realizes that her guide, Jack Allen, may have been hired by the power company to lead her astray, she enlists a Crow Indian woman named Miriam as her assistant and finds an unexpected ally in reclusive horseman John H, whose intimate knowledge of the terrain masks his tragic life story. Historical Fiction September 2014 Newsletter.

Aug 06, 2014

a very intriguing book about the old ways and new ways clashing over the building of a dam with artifacts. the characters are vivid and the plot is exciting. a great book.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at BPL

To Top