Title: Wild Horses on the Salt
Author: Anne Montgomery
Page Length: 200
Publication Date: June 14, 2020
Publisher: Liaison – A Next Chapter Imprint
Synopsis: A woman flees an abusive husband and finds hope in the wilds of the Arizona desert.
Rebecca Quinn escapes her controlling husband and, with nowhere else to go, hops the red-eye to Arizona. There, Gaby Strand – her aunt’s college roommate – gives her shelter at the Salt River Inn, a 1930’s guesthouse located in the wildly beautiful Tonto National Forest.
Becca struggles with post-traumatic stress, but is enthralled by the splendor and fragility of the Sonoran Desert. The once aspiring artist meets Noah Tanner, a cattle rancher and beekeeper, Oscar Billingsley, a retired psychiatrist and avid birder, and a blacksmith named Walt. Thanks to her new friends and a small band of wild horses, Becca adjusts to life in the desert and rekindles her love of art.
Then, Becca’s husband tracks her down, forcing her to summon all her strength. But can she finally stop running away?
Wild Horses on the Salt is a moving story about Becca, a victim of domestic violence, who leaves her husband and seeks refuge at The Salt River Inn, an inn run by a friend of Becca’s aunt. Physically and emotionally wounded, Becca is embraced by Gaby, the inn owner, and her partner Walt, a gifted metal artist and cook.
Gaby and Walt don’t know exactly what happened to Becca, but they offer support and respite. Gaby also meets and develops a friendship with Noah, a neighbor and friend to Gaby and Walt, and slowly begins to heal. However, Becca can’t avoid her past forever. When her husband hunts her down, intent on taking her home, and Becca’s life takes a dangerous turn, Becca must find the strength to escape her husband once and for all.
Becca is a victim of abuse. She witnessed verbal and physical abuse growing up and married a man exactly like her father. She knew no different and is astounded to realize that this isn’t the norm. I felt for Becca throughout the story. She is wounded and suffering from severe PTSD. I love that Becca rediscovers her love of art and uses it to process her feelings. I also love how much nature and her love of the Sonoran Desert in Arizona brings her peace.
Interspersed throughout the novel is the amazing story of a wild horse. Wounded, then penned and feeling trapped, the horse escapes and begins a journey in search of his family. The horse’s journey very much parallels Becca’s story, complete with a new friend to guide him.
The kind people that Becca meets while at The Salt River Inn also contribute to Becca’s healing. Gaby, Walt, Oscar, and others show her a different way of life – a life filled with hard work, love, respect, and taking the time to slow down and enjoy the little joys in life. They give her the freedom to heal at her own pace and encourage her to explore her interests. Becca is fortunate to have such a lovely support system during such a difficult time.
Though the love story is not the main focus of the novel, it’s a lovely addition to the story. Becca meets Noah through Gaby and Walt, and a friendship begins. Noah understands Becca well and is patient and kind. He is so different from Becca’s husband. I enjoyed this slow-building relationship and hoped that Becca found the happy ending that she deserved.
A poignant story about domestic violence, the beauty of nature, and the plight of the wild horses of the Salt River, Wild Horses on the Salt is a powerful and moving read. I love the vivid and beautiful setting, the dynamic characters, and the strong messages of perseverance and finding oneself. Thanks so much to the author for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.
It’s best to face your fears. Ignoring problems doesn’t solve anything. That’s really the only way to heal.
The wound would finally disappear from her skin, but not from her soul.
I think this will appeal to readers who like powerful and thought-provoking stories. There are flashbacks and references to abuse, which could be a trigger for some.