The Horse Whisperer

by Nicholas Evans

Hardcover, 1995



A forty-ton truck hurtles out of control on a snowy country road, a teenage girl on horseback in its path. In a few terrible seconds the life of a family is shattered. And a mother's quest begins--to save her maimed daughter and a horse driven mad by pain. It is an odyssey that will bring her to The Horse Whisperer. He is the stuff of legend. His voice can calm wild horses and his touch heals broken spirits. For secrets uttered softly into pricked and troubled ears, such men were once called Whisperers. Now Tom Booker, the inheritor of this ancient gift, is to meet his greatest challenge. Annie Graves has traveled across a continent with her daughter, Grace, and their wounded horse, Pilgrim, to the Booker ranch in Montana. Annie has risked everything--her career, her marriage, her comfortable life--in her desperate belief that the Whisperer can help them. The accident has turned Pilgrim savage. He is now so demented and dangerous that everyone says he should be destroyed. But Annie won't give up on him, for she feels his fate is inextricably entwined with that of her daughter, who has retreated into a heartrending, hostile silence. Annie knows that if the horse dies, something in Grace will die too. In the weeks to come, under the massive sky of the Rocky Mountain Front, all their lives--including Tom Booker's--will be transformed forever in a way none could have foretold. At once an epic love story and a gripping adventure, The Horse Whisperer weaves an extraordinary tale of healing and redemption--a magnificent emotional journey that explores our ancient bonds with earth and sky and hearts untamed. It is a stirring elegy to the power of belief and self-discovery, to hopes lost and found again.… (more)

Library's rating


½ (1046 ratings; 3.6)

User reviews

LibraryThing member Audacity88
It succeeds as what it is meant to be - comfortable - by being predictable enough to soothe but dramatic enough not to bore. Since it requires no engagement of the critical faculty, this is a good book to read through all in one sitting. Just don't expect the pleasure to stay on once the last page
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has been turned.
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LibraryThing member fuzzi
I really enjoyed this book, about how people handle pain and loss, and survive. It grabbed me from the first ten or so pages, and I found it difficult to put down. My only complaint is that the author found it necessary to insert somewhat graphic descriptions of sex in several situations. Aside
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from that, it is recommended.
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LibraryThing member hippietrail
Formulaic bestseller stuff but I'm ashamed to say I couldn't put it down and it's one of the very few books I as a slow slow reader have read in a single sitting.
LibraryThing member mrsrjd
I listened to the audio version of "The Horse Whisperer" by Nicholas Evans. I have not seen the movie and wasn't particularly interested in the book but my library has a limited amount of books on cassette so I met Annie, her daughter Grace, husband Robert, the whispering Tom Booker and of course
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the whispered-to, horse Pilgrim. By the end of the book I was sorry they had made my acquaintance.

My issue is not so much with Evans' writing ability as it is his stereotypical treatment of men and women. Indeed, the opening scenes of accident and trauma made me think I had the wrong impression of the story. But, it was all down hill from there. It turned out that Annie and Grace were victims of "my mother works" syndrome. It took removal from the big city and entry into the "aw shucks ma'am" country to bring them fulfillment. The addition of a handsome cowboy in the form of Tom Booker certainly didn't hurt either.

Evans allowed Annie to cry more than once in her journey to fulfillment - despite Annie's criticism of Robert's tears over their daughter's accident. Frankly, I wanted Annie to cry a lot more than she did, and I definitely didn't want her fulfilled. Annie was the main character in the story and I didn't like her at all. She was greedy, manipulative and selfish. Her awfulness might have been tolerable if she had been made to pay it. But Evans extracted no payment at all. Instead, she got everything she wanted. This result made me say "Ugh!" and rejoice when the final cassette was finished.
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LibraryThing member FionaCat
Honestly, I enjoyed the movie much more than the book. The book was good up until the end; I think the ending in the film is much better than the lame one in the book.
LibraryThing member jayne_charles
This was like a splendidly written Mills and Boon. Feisty woman meets slightly-too-good-to-be-true love interest. There was the added complication of a husband (who was a really nice guy and frankly deserved better), and also a storyline involving an injured child and an injured and traumatised
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The writing was top notch, characters sketched with skill and confidence, and I also liked the totally superfluous gag about the girls on the subway discussing the meaning of dreams.

The scene where the horse's treatment reaches its conclusion was curious. Less whispering, more bashing with blunt instruments, and it left a funny taste in my mouth. But I know nothing about horses.
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LibraryThing member ogopogo
i read this after watching the film - and as in 98% of all cases the book was better than the film. well worth a read but make such the box of tissues is not far away.
LibraryThing member aimless22
The first chapter grabs tight and does not let go! Adventure, romance, coming of age all congregate in this wonderful novel by a gifted writer.
LibraryThing member sarah-p
this book is just breath taking, i could'nt put it down, i read this after the movie but it so much better and the ending much more dramatic then the film, this was the first Nicholas Evans book i read but he's an amazing author,
LibraryThing member edspicer
There's plenty of realistic horse detail. You feel like you're actually there. The plot takes many turns.
4Q, 4P. Cover Art: Awesome!
The book is best suited for Highschoolers and Adults.
It was selected due to the interesting title.
Grade (of reviewer): 11th
LibraryThing member nm.fall07.h.pyatt
I really like the Horse Whisperer because it has powerful message to all ages. It shows how perseverance and hard work pays off in the long haul. I really like the main character Grace because she trys to be brave and not emotional, but she finally breaks down and realizes she cant stay to herself,
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she has to open up to people. I recommend this book to anyone, but it is probably not suitable for children under the age of fourteen, due to language and other adult situations.
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LibraryThing member bunwat
Hated it!!! Read this book because a friend of mine insisted I had to. Then had to hide from the friend until I could get the swearing and frothing at the mouth under control. Sparks Evans walks his heroine right up onto the horns of a moral dilemma. Married with children but in love with somebody
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new who seems to open up connections to lost parts of herself. Okay I'm interested. Does she honor her feelings or honor her committments? But THEN, he just kills off the hero. She doesn't have to make choices, she doesn't have to deal with consequences, she just gets to ramble on back to her life with a sweetly romantic memory of her fallen lover. BLECH!! SPEW!!! Emotional porn.
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LibraryThing member superphoenix
The initial chapters are interesting and captivating. Further on at some points the interest tends to ebb and the story seems to being stretched. The end is very tragic and had me nearly in tears. Overall worth reading.
LibraryThing member KarenAJeff
I enjoyed this book until they started getting all romantic, and the ending is a bummer. I wanted to know more about the horse and the techniques used to tame him.
LibraryThing member nocturnewytche
I am a horse lover hands down. I could not wrap my mind around why people love this book so much. I did enjoy it, but as the time goes in in the book it seems to become less and less about the horse and more about the people. The book started out so well but I feel it was just dropped after the
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first few chapters and steadily declined to downright boring from there. Not something I'd read again.
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LibraryThing member readingwithtea
"Sometimes what seems like surrender isn't surrender at all. It's about what's going on in our hearts."

Grace and Judith take their horses out on a snowy New York morning. A collision with a sleep-deprived trucker leaves one pair dead and a girl and horse fighting for their lives. Annie becomes
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convinced that her daughter's fate is inextricably linked with the fate of her horse, and tracks down a horse whisperer to heal the crippled equine. Soon it's not just the girl and the horse whose futures are linked...

Yes I know this is chick lit of the greatest degree - ponies, cowboys, "the massive Montana sky"... Skipping right along:

It is very obvious after about page 100 that it is Annie with whom we are supposed to sympathise - this is Annie's story, not Grace's. Grace becomes a truculent, wilful child who is irritating to her mother - instead of the scarred survivor we should see. Annie - well I have no patience with characters who commit adultery, so... I was never going to like her. Evans does convey a very credible character though - she is stressed, trying to do a good job (eventually, just trying to keep her job), doesn't understand why her child is resisting her helpful efforts, feels guilty for not being around more... I didn't really understand her relationship with Robert (Grace's dad) - there is an explanation of how they have got to where they are, but he seemed to just fade out of the picture once Annie and Grace went to Montana.

I quite enjoyed Tom's back-story and his reticence with actual humans, but could I shake the idea that his name was Robert Redford (I saw the film maybe 8 years ago?)? No. As a reviewer on Bookmooch pointed out, this book was written for film - there's pathetic fallacy and dark foreboding everywhere.

As for plot... the accident and the recovery are really a shell into which to tuck Annie and Tom's romance and Annie's reawakening as a country girl (or some sort of pretence thereat). And I don't get on brilliantly with this romance business, so to me it was all just a lot of talking and stuff.

Maybe 4/10 is a bit harsh - it achieves what it sets out to do. I just don't feel emotionally invested in any of the characters, like I did in Love Verb, intrigued by the interpersonal drama like I did in Touching Distance, or blown away by language and situation like in Bel Canto.
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LibraryThing member co_coyote
I found this in the beach house, and it was a welcome relief from the Fire Ant encyclopedia-like book I am currently reading. I remember the movie being excellent, and the book is every bit as good. I know I am saying this after the fact, but could anyone else possibly play Tom Booker *except*
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Robert Redford!? I think this book was written with the movie in mind.
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LibraryThing member BackyardHorse
As a life long horse person I found the book far more interesting, and believable than the movie adaption. If you are looking for a light entertaining read keep looking. Evens masterfully displays the terror of a horrific opening scene, and the long painful road back for a young girl and her horse.
LibraryThing member Fliss88
A broken girl, a broken horse. A mother that is prepared to give up her job, give up everything to see them both healed. All three travel to Montana, to meet a man with the ability to whisper with horses, and all three find themselves healed in ways that none of them expected. This is a beautiful
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book that will have you 'in' by the end of the first chapter, if not before.
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LibraryThing member gypsysmom
The Horse Whisperer is about a man who can communicate with horses, a young girl and her horse who were badly injured in an accident and her mother who wants to heal her daughter. Well written and an interesting story.
LibraryThing member mamashepp
The book fleshes out the movie, but the movie was better
LibraryThing member Floratina

I think I was completely misinformed about this book. I expected it to be about horses, but I was mistaken.

There's a very thin plot line that's actually about getting a horse back under control, but for the main part it's just a romance, badly written. I didn't like it, it felt fake,
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it felt at times ridiculous to me.

The plot - if there was any- was unoriginal and not interesting. It took me some time to finish it (I really like to finish my books, I'm always keep the possibility in mind that the story will improve as I continue), but I didn't like the ending either.

This certainly was not a book for me.
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LibraryThing member DebbieMcCauley
A traumatic accident whilst riding her horse Pilgrim, leaves Grace an amputee and her friend Judith, along with horse Gulliver, dead. Pilgrim is severely injured, psychologically damaged and uncontrollable. As Grace, workaholic magazine editor mother Annie, and lawyer father Robert go through the
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healing process, Pilgrim's progress, or lack of it, reflects the family's lack of healing. Annie refuses to allow Pilgrim to be put down, and instead consults a 'horse whisperer', Tom Booker. Grace, Annie and Pilgrim travel across the country in the hope that Tom can help.

Being on the ranch is good for them all but Annie and Tom become intimate and when Grace finds out she recklessly off into the wilderness. Tom, knowing that he cannot have Annie, but neither can he live without her, rides after Annie with his brother. The leader of a herd of wild mustangs challenges Pilgrim and they fight whilst Grace is left cowering in the background. Tom deliberately places himself in harms way, becoming fatally wounded by the hooves of the stallion.

Grace, Annie and Pilgrim return to New York to rebuild their life with Robert who has been told the truth. Annie discovers she is pregnant, finally giving birth to a baby with Tom's blue eyes.

I really liked this book, however I would have rather the author stuck with Grace and Pilgrim's story which would have made a fantastic book for young adults. Instead, Annie and Tom's story takes over which is a shame and feels like it was unnecessary. Would like to see a young adults version come out focused on Grace, Pilgrim and more of the techniques used by a 'horse whisperer'.
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LibraryThing member AliceAnna
What a crock. This whole book was romanticized dreck. And I'm supposed to identify/sympathize with an adulterous, self-centered, egotistical b*tch? It made it no easier that her husband was a great guy and she didn't for a minute think of her daughter's needs when she entered into the affair.
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Didn't do it for me.
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LibraryThing member christinejoseph
good Horse/Truck girl's snow accident ___ to Montana — things new, the same ___ into a Madison County Bk —

His name is Tom Booker. His voice can calm wild horses, his touch can heal broken spirits. And Annie Graves has traveled across a continent to the Booker ranch in Montana, desperate to heal
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her injured daughter, the girl's savage horse, and her own wounded heart. She comes for hope. She comes for her child. And beneath the wide Montana sky, she comes to him for what no one else can give her: a reason to believe ...
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Delacorte (1995), 404 pages

Original publication date





0385315236 / 9780385315234




Original language

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