From the very beginning, Kathleen Eagle has towered high above the rank and file of genre writers for a great many reasons, and Ride a Painted Pony showcases all of them. Nick Red Shield is a scarred and lonely man who lives in an isolated portion of the reservation. He's on his way to buy the horse of his dreams when he finds a battered, terrified woman alongside a dark stretch of highway. Lauren Davis is more than down on her luck she's escaping a dangerous man who wants her dead. If she could just disappear, life would be fine, but her enemy has custody of her baby son, and Lauren's life isn't worth living without him. These two lost souls make their way toward a fragile and hopeful love, each battling the demons of their pasts and the difficulty of believing in the future, making for a romance of great depth. The joy of Eagle's work is in her portrayal of Native Americans, in the tracery of underpinning legend and the wryness of Indian humor, and in the sure and subtle hand of a wordsmith. Ride a Painted Pony would be an excellent choice for book clubs looking for a thoughtful, yet uplifting read.
Barbara Samuel won a 2006 RITA award for her novel Lady Luck's Map of Vegas.