Feature book: Saddle Up
Saddle Up by Victoria Vane
This is a story of horses and a clash of cultures.
Miranda Sutton is passionate about film making. She wants to be a cinematographer and assisted in the filming of an award-winning documentary. She even finds it okay that her boss took all the credit for the film. But she still wants to make it on her own. Miranda accepts a job filming the mustang round-up, as no one else wants the job. It’s during this time she finds the background to the history of the mustangs and does all she can to give the facts in her film. On her first filming venture, she met Two Wolves, a renowned horse whisperer and trainer. She discovers he was very upset by the documentary, as he believed it depicted him in a poor light, that he stopped training horses. He is now part of the crew rounding up the mustangs.
Two Wolves, or Keith Russo, is split between two worlds. He doesn’t discover his heritage until later in his life, and he moves to the reservation to find the other side of himself. He faces an internal struggle, identified by his grandfather, which is why he is named Two Wolves (and black and white wolf). As the story progresses Keith tries to appease his grandfather, but always leaves frustrated that his grandfather has not yet seen any progress with his struggle. Keith’s inner struggle is also depicted in the wild mustang he impulse buys. Initially, he let the horse free, then it reappeared in a round-up. He then gave the horse to his grandfather who didn’t want damaged goods. Keith takes the horse, and they both land at Miranda’s ranch. The horse is the analogy for Keith inner struggle. When he conquers the horse, he will find his inner peace.
Miranda becomes a stabilising force for Keith and his internal struggles, particularly when she understands how to read him. As the relationship develops, she would make incorrect statements through lack of understanding of the situation or his culture and Keith would respond in a similar manner making hurtful comments or leave. Keith doesn’t want to be dependent on her and he doesn’t want her to be disappointed in him. Miranda is finally able to tame Keith’s inner demons and he becomes Grey Wolf.
Once the plan is in place for Miranda’s grandmother’s ranch to take some of the mustangs, there is a settled atmosphere. Trouble is soon to follow, but as with all good romances, there is a solution. Hidden within the story are a couple of characters who have their own stories later but it was interesting to see where the start was for them.
I liked this story. It showed aspects of American Indian culture and the struggle of many of these people. I liked that Miranda and Keith could resolve their difference by learning more about the other’s background. The ending was very, very satisfying.
Reviewed by Heather
A review copy of this book was provided by the author.