"Those old cows knew trouble was coming before we did." So begins the story of Lily Casey Smith, Jeannette's no-nonsense, resourceful, and spectacularly compelling grandmother. By age six, Lily was helping her father break horses.
At fifteen, she left home to teach in a frontier town, riding five hundred miles on her pony, alone, to get to her job. She later learned to drive a car and fly a plane, and, with her husband, Jim, she ran a vast ranch in Arizona, raised two children, and survived tornadoes, droughts, floods, the Great Depression, and heartbreaking personal tragedy. She bristled at prejudice of all kinds: against women, Native Americans, and anyone else who didn't fit the mold.
Rosemary Smith Walls always told Jeannette that she was like her grandmother, and in this true-life novel, Jeannette Walls channels that kindred spirit. Half Broke Horses is like Laura Ingalls Wilder for adults.