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The Filly This was actually a very sweet slow moving coming of age story set in the early 1800s It's about two young men one that is just learning about himself and those around him and another that seems to be a drifter but in all actuality is trying to find someone just like himself to share his life with Set in old fashioned small town Texas we read a lot about good hardworking book smart 17 yr old Ethan; Willy Ethan's older tough and troublemaking brother; their mother who has been raising her boys on her own for a while; and other VERY interesting supporting characters All Ethan really wants in life is to save up his work money to buy a young horse of his own Then we are introduced to Travis a young wanderer who comes into town looking for work as a cattle rustler He reads as much older but in actuality is only just past 21 Ethan falls in love with Travis's mare Cleo and finds himself taking a second glance or two at Travis as well The story is separated into 3 parts each having a major event to work through The first starts out meandering and slow getting us familiar with all the major players The second is adventurous taking us on the trail of a cattle drive from Texas up to Wyoming and the third is all about growth and life challenges in the days of the old west This story kind of snuck up on me and had me wanting to see exactly how all could possibly turn out for these two There was much sadness and tears and when I finished I didn’t know if I was mad or just relieved but it definitely had me on a roller coaster There is no on page sex and the story is told in such a way as to be very appropriate for YA as well as adult readers After wiping away my tears and putting away my mad I am most definitely ready to recommend this story to anyone that's ready for a real good coming–of age western love story A cowboy historical Not OK Homo great first novelSomeone posted they were thinking about reading this and I then realized I had never reviewed it so I re read and have now added a reviewA young man 17 and at this time legally of age is wooed by another young man a few years older in a very charming way They plan their life ahead knowing the problems they will face and then run into complications with family and friends plus an ugly betrayal I did not understand the long silence during the long incarceration that didn't seem right with everything up to that point Great secondary characters Very enjoyable read HEA Reviewed by Cat for TeensReadToocomSeventeen 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 45 starsI received a print review copy of this book in exchange for an honest opinionIt is rare for me to read a historical novel even though I have enjoyed the once I have read In contemporary books I have found cowboys sexy and their lifestyle interesting though it would not personally be something I would enjoy but never read a book that could be conidered a 'classical' western in the prime time of cowboys This coming of age story transported me back in time into a classical Western time though even if the main characters form an untraditional union Surprisingly for never having been drawn to this genre the likable protagonist well rounded to the last secondary character really drew me i The story is easy to follow and never felt boring There was action tension and the changing relationship between Travis and Ethan that made me want to find out about them Their lovestory is sweet even though the dangers of the time for two men in love are very present as a constant danger and cause for tension While the story is simple the characters and their relationships and changing dynamics are not and that created a few twists and turns that I had not exected and made me re examine some characters closer and change my opinion about themI really had a great time with the book and cared a lot for the wonderful main characters I can strongly recommend this book even though it might be out of your comfort zone This might be a sub genre you have never tried before but this sweet journey towards a happy end is very much worth it even if it is not an easy one I also listened to the narration of the audiobook version and found it to be of excellent uality I arrived to this book looking for period gay cowboy stories and The Filly got my eye almost instantly I was going to rate it a bit lower because it has some things I didn't like but being completely honest this story is so cute and it ended in a great way I find it's important to acknowledge that just because two characters are gay and they have to face the conseuences of being so in a time where it was not as accepted as today we can still write stories that are happy wholesome and heartwarming And The Filly absolutely commits to be one of those Ethan and Travis are a beautiful couple that Mark B Probst builds up in a uiet pace step by step He doesn't push the characters to interact romantically just because this is a gay cowboy romance and that is one of the strongest points for this novel I must say despite it's a cute story it's definetely not perfect I believe it suffers a bit from predictability especially in the way some conflicts are a rushed to be resolved to allow the story to move forward Some details on the story were also a bit odd to me I had a problem with Travis sometimes because he really seemed to be a character way too ahead of his time and that pulled me out a bit out of the story I think he doesn't get as much development as Ethan does but I ended up liking his character towards the ending when he fianlly had a human reaction to something that upsetted him profusely The Filly is not pretentious nor aims to change the genre It's like an hommage to Western in a completely different tone and a story that needed to be told 45 StarsWell written coming of age Western that invokes the splendour and panorama of films such as Shane and Red River My only uibble that kept it from being 5 Stars is the rather abrupt ending This is a sweet story full of youthful indiscretion and discovery The author provides a tale that moves at a good pace touching on self discovery cattle drives bitchy self important people and the dangers of being openly honest The one thing that I liked about the story was that the author though it could not have been easy made the story believable rather than shooting for the impossible Can't really provide insight without spoiling the storybut you'll see what I mean A very enjoyable story and the narrator Jason Jewett added to the story Definite recommend 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 Mark 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 uaint 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 widowed mother so he finds adventure in reading such books as Tale of Two Cities Therefore it is not surprising that he is intrigued by a handsome worldly cowboy named Travis Cain who comes riding through looking for work Travis is eually taken by Ethan and a friendship uickly 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 a superb rider Moreover his abiding ambition is to one day own one of his own Both of these points come into play later on in the novel to make them uite a logical progression The two other central characters are Miss Peet Ethan’s former schoolmistress and his older sibling 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 he then sets them to work interacting with one another in almost comedic fashion First he establishes a bond between Ethan and Travis and then casts Miss Peet into the arena with her with her rather rapacious eyes on Travis Cain as well The Filly is far from a comedy but I found this particular juxtaposition charming The real turning point in the novel comes when Travis convinces Ethan to join him on a 900 hundred mile cattle drive This is where Mark Probst’s vivid imagination really begins to shine I have read firsthand accounts of similar drives and his account parallels these in both accuracy and atmosphere Major drives like these were no cakewalks and it was the making—or breaking of a man to undertake one of them Fortunately it was the making of Ethan on this one and the cementing of the bond between he and Travis as well There were other challenges to follow some of them dire but I will leave these for other readers to discover Strong points Mark Probst’s imagination and his obvious understanding and dedication to western lore; his characterization—for they are all good strong characters and also his courage to undertake his first novel Not so strong points Well Travis does come across as a bit too articulate for his station I was hoping that his mother might be a cultured lady who had schooled him but that wasn’t the case when I met her in the novel Nevertheless this is only a minor uibble and it does not detract from the overall enjoyment of the story Recommended The Filly by author Mark R Probst It is a charming story of coming out and gay romance set against the rugged background of the ‘old’ west It is also a refreshingly uniue perspective of cowboy life Seventeen year old Ethan Keller live a simple life spending his days working as a clerk in his small town's generals store and 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 older brother Willie out of trouble finding snippets of time to indulge his love of reading and dreaming buying a colt or filly of his own some day All that changes when a charismatic and persistent young cowboy named Travis Cain walks into his lifeSensing 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 dearIn 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 circumstance 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 novels secondary players and an ending that came too abruptly for my personal tastes These factors were far outweighed though by the depth and sensitivity in Mr Probst's depiction of Ethan Travis and their relationship Originally posted at TeensReadToocom

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