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The Filly [Paperback]

Mark R. Probst
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

October 2007
Escaping into the fantasy of his books when he's not working in the general store, Ethan Keller has lived a sheltered life in his mother's boarding house. One day, an enigmatic cowboy passing through the small Texas town takes an immediate liking to the shy seventeen-year-old. Ethan is intrigued by the attention, and the cowboy eventually charms him into signing on to a 900-mile cattle drive. Ethan soon finds that his feelings for this cowboy run deeper than just friendship. He never knew that this kind of love even existed; and now for the two of them to make a life together in the untamed west, they must face nearly insurmountable odds if they are to survive.

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5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too March 4 2009
Seventeen-year-old Ethan Keller lives a simple life, spending his days working as a clerk in his small town's general store, and his evenings at his widowed mother's boarding house dinner table.

Ethan's never considered a life beyond the sheltered reach of a dutiful second son trying to keep his older brother, Willie, out of trouble, finding snippets of time to indulge his love of reading and dreaming of buying a colt or filly of his own some day.

All of that changes when a charismatic and persistent young cowboy named Travis Cain walks into his life.

Sensing a kindred spirit, Travis dares Ethan to dream beyond that which he's ever dared, and soon convinces Ethan to sign on to the Hayward Ranch's summer cattle drive. During the journey from Texas to Cheyenne, Ethan and Travis test the limits of their endurance, explore the bonds of true friendship, and discover a love that will eventually risk everything they hold dear.

In THE FILLY, author Mark R. Probst combines the tender beauty of love - be it the blossoming romance between two young men at a time when the only term to characterize their relationship came in the form of Biblical condemnation, the fierce protectiveness of families for their own, or friendships forged in the most dire of circumstances - with the gritty, bare-boned realism of life in the old west.

There were a few times when I was jarred from the narrative by an inconsistency of language, a bit of cardboard characterization among many of the novel's secondary players, and an ending that came too abruptly for my personal taste, but these factors were far outweighed by the depth and sensitivity in Mr. Probst's depictions of Ethan, Travis, and their relationship.

Reviewed by: Cat
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Mark R. Probst is an author with a marvellously rich imagination, and his first novel, "The Filly," is proof positive of this statement.

It is set in a small town in Texas in the 1870s, where we find seventeen-year-old Ethan Keller at work in Mr. Simpson's general store. It is one of those quaint emporiums that sells almost everything imaginable, from biscuits to jigsaw puzzles, and in his spare time Ethan reads his beloved novels.

Ethan is a nice, intelligent kid, somewhat shy and naïve due to his sheltered life with his devoted, but widowed mother, so he finds adventure in reading such books as Tale of Two Cities. It is not surprising therefore that he is intrigued by a handsome, worldly cowboy named Travis Cain, who comes riding through looking for work.

Travis is equally attracted to Ethan, and a friendship quickly forms between them. The catalyst is "Cleo," Cain's beautiful and spirited mare, and from this we learn that, in spite of his bookish nature, Ethan is an experienced and talented rider. Moreover, his abiding ambition is to one day own one of his own--particularly a filly. These points come into play later on in the novel, which makes them both a logical progression in the stort.

The two other central characters are Miss Peet, Ethan's former schoolmistress, and his older brother William. Miss Peet is a somewhat man hungry spinster, and William is a hard drinking, whore loving rebel, but intensely loyal to his "little brother."

Having thus created a cast of interesting and colourful characters, the author then sets them to work interacting with one another in almost comedic fashion.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A tender bittersweet love story Sept. 6 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This novel caught me up in the story from the first page and kept my interest throughout. The setting was so well described and the characters' behaviour was so appropriate for the times that it was easy to share the emotions and the doubts of the main characters as they went about their daily lives. Ethan is a 17-year-old second son living on a small farm by a tiny town in the middle of nowhere, Texas, 40 miles west of San Antonio in the 1870s. Sadly, Ethan is just a little different from the other kids he went to school with. Unlike most boys of his age, he liked school and actually finished grade 12. He loves to read and books are his window to a larger world. A true innocent, Ethan's never been away from his area and has very little life experience. In the USA of the 1870s, boys didn't talk about their feelings; they did what everybody did and behaved like everyone else. Men were expected to court and marry women and women were expected to marry and have children. So where does a young man fit in who feels no attraction to that kind of life? And what happens when such a young man meets another, more experienced man, who slowly opens up his horizons to a first experience of real love? This is a beautiful, tender romance that describes the awakening feelings of a young man as he comes of age. Remember that this was a time when sodomites were beaten, imprisoned and even hanged. While Ethan might have met someone had he lived in a large city, out in the middle of nowhere he was pretty much on his own, with his books. Travis is a young cowboy a few years older than Ethan but with life experiences gained from extensive travel throughout much of the USA. He encountered various women and men as well and has experienced sexual relations with both. Read more ›
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