Bone Horses was selected as The Winner, Tony Hillerman Award for Best Fiction, 2013 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards
New York school teacher Charlotte Lambert is practical and predictable, and never allows life to veer off course. Until she comes to New Mexico. During one summer in Agua Dulce, a village haunted by a phantom herd of wild horses and where ravens embody the spirits of ancestors, Charlotte’s world is upended as she unearths the details of her mother’s forbidden love affair, chilling murder, and courageous last act of redemption. Pursued by a madman hell-bent on killing her, Charlotte finds shelter, romance, and her own misplaced soul at the desert camp of a surprisingly sophisticated cowboy, and learns how love in its myriad forms is the only path to lasting salvation.
"Poling-Kempes has created an engaging plot and managed to clothe it in our time and culture in a way that conveys comforting and disturbing universal truths... Yet the author doesn’t ignore the shadow side of rural New Mexican culture: Bone Horses addresses violence, drugs and alcohol, long-held grudges and prejudices, and extremist religious views. Contemporary issues, including the threat of environmental pollution and the power of education to save lives, are also threaded into the narrative, sans moralizing...Bone Horses is extremely well-crafted, and its failings are few.” Hollis Walker, The Santa Fe New Mexican
“An exquisitely beautiful and haunting read. Bone Horses is a novel of large ambitions and sweep, with vivid characters and big American themes, written in crisp, sculptured prose.” Douglas Preston
“Bone Horses is a story of what truly knits us together – family, history, enduring friendships – served up in luminous language and unforgettable story-telling.” Mary E. Mitchell
“A fine mystery, with complex twists and turns. Bone Horses is also a paean to the land and especially to its rare wild horses who symbolize all that is wonderful about our high desert country and all that needs our love and protection.” John Nichols
Lesley Poling-Kempes is the award-winning author of six books about the American Southwest, including “The Harvey Girls: Women Who Opened the West” and “Ghost Ranch.” Her work has won the Southwest Books of the Year “Top Choice” Award, the Zia Award for Excellence from the New Mexico Press Women, and the Tony Hillerman Award for Best Fiction. Her first novel, “Canyon of Remembering” was a Western Writers of America Spur Award finalist. She lives in Abiquiu, New Mexico.— From Lesley Poling-Kempes