Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Golden Pasture (1986)

The Golden Pasture
Joyce Carol Thomas, il.???
1986, Scholastic POINT

“I still say that Indian woman would still be here if you knew how to cooperate sometimes and learned how to show a little affection.  Black folks and Cherokees have been marrying and getting along for as long as I can remember.  What’s your problem?”

The uneasy relationship between Gray Jefferson and his grown son, Samuel, is laid out in that comment.  Samuel has just come to Gray’s Oklahoma  ranch, Golden Pasture with his newborn son, Carlton Lee.  In the first, startling chapters, Samuel had stolen the infant from his Cherokee mother, Rose Branch, after she gives birth in the winter woods, and Gray clearly suspects that his son’s to blame for whatever separated mother and child.  Carlton will never see his mother again, but he forms a strong bond with his grandfather almost from the moment he’s placed in his arms. 

12 years later, Carlton Lee is spending another summer at Golden Pasture, enjoying the company of his easygoing, story-telling grandfather and riding horses.  The only unsatisfactory spots are visits by his brooding father, his nagging desire to ride in the Boley Rodeo, and his curiosity over one remote pasture he’s forbidden to enter.  When an accident forces Carl Lee to enter this area, he finds a beautiful Appaloosa and, indirectly, a clue to his father’s past.  As he works to restore Cloudy to health, his grandfather tells him the story of Samuel and his wild horse, and their fate.

“Once, your daddy loved a horse.  I should’ve let him keep the horse after we caught him, but I wanted to show him off in that darn rodeo.  He was a king, that horse.”

Carl Lee understands the story – of Thunderfoot the wild horse, of Samuel the wild teenager who responded to the wild stallion, and of Hellhound, the brutal bronc rider who couldn’t resist the challenge of Thunderfoot’s reputation for putting cowboys on the ground.  But he doesn’t understand the last piece until history repeats itself at the Boley Rodeo. 

A father-son story centered on a horse, with a writing style that reads like a storyteller’s voice.  The author wrote several books set near Ponca City, where she grew up, and some feature Carl Lee. 
Marked By Fire
Bright Shadow
House of Light


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