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on 8 June 2007
I was slightly perturbed by the cover never having really read a book about 'cowboys' before. I'm normally a thriller girl and so the author's other book (check it out) is my favourite book of all time.

However I simply loved this too.

It's the story of Dwight a packer whose love for the mountains and a nomadic lifestyle means that he's a love 'em and leave 'em sort where the ladies are concerned and one of the boys with his mates. He meets Molly Mendoza who has come to the mountains as a way to forget a broken romance.

Their subsequent romance is set against the backdrop of the california wilderness and a series of escapades and adventures involving a whole cast of great characters - Jake and Ike bring humour to the story, Bob Roberts and his crew a real sense of menace and Pete and Nancy are the resident eccentrics.

I have to say that I couldn't put this down. The story has authenticity and the writers experience and love of this way of life shine through the pages.

If you want something different, if you want to know about a way of life that you may never have heard about and if you just want to get lost in a really great book, then this book is for you.

Try it - I bet you'll love it!
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on 9 May 2008
I bought this because of the rave reviews and the reference to Larry Mcmurtry, who happens to be one of my favourite authors. I do realise that everyone's taste is different, however I disliked this book so much that I didn't finish it. Maybe the last half of the book improved.
In essence: I found the characterisation superficial and, quite frankly, boring. Two-dimensional, flat, no good interraction or anything to drive the story along.
The plot is boring. The most interesting thing I gained from the book is that I now have more knowledge of how to load a mule than I ever wanted to know. In the book, mules carrying tourist gear sometimes shed their loads and have to be properly reloaded. This happens over and over. Some characters are good at loading, some bad, some are learning. Each time a great deal of detail is used in describing the process. Once is enough! There you go, that's about it.
She likes him but he's playing hard to get or is she? Meanwhile he likes her but she's only using him, he's an enigma who doesn't appear to like anyone much, while he's too young to be of any account yet. Occasionally sex happens. All are 'proving themselves' in ways only known to mule-loaders everywhere.
Leaden prose. A basic 'and then this happened, and then that happened' kind of style.
Feels like J McN Brumfield wanted to write himself into a book, and in retrospect the Larry McMurtry quote/review sounds more like him encouraging an emerging/struggling writer.
I really wanted to like this book. But I really didn't.
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on 28 December 2006
The only reason I decided to give this modern day western a chance was because of the praise it received from Mr. McMurtry. And I am sure glad I did. This book is a look into the world of one summer at a pack station. The characters jump off the page as real people and the authors descriptions of the high country made me want to saddle up and go along for the ride! The book has a little bit of everything, drama, adventure, romance, and some western humor. The book takes the reader along for the highs and the lows as the characters give up much to live the life they love. One minute I was laughing hysterically and the next I'd be crying, and sometimes I was doing both at the same time! If you are looking for something different, a realistic look at a slice of western life, then I highly recommend this book!
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on 11 April 2006
I picked up this book when I saw that Larry McMurtry, the author of my all time favorite book 'Lonesome Dove,' gave it high marks. I must say I am glad I took his advice. This is a story of the modern American west. Molly Mendoza, has just left her fiancé after finding him in bed with her best friend. Her future life crushed, she stumbles into a job at Granite Creek Pack Station in California's rugged eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains. She has no Idea what she is in for but she soon falls in love with the Mountains and the Lifestyle. Brumfield does an excellent job of developing the characters that work for the pack station. I soon came to feel they were my friends. And his descriptions of the high mountains are amazing (I went on line and googled some of the places he describes, like Shepards Pass, and they are amazing! I did not know places like this existed in California!). I had the feeling that though this is fiction, the author was writing about real people and things that actually happened. There is also plenty of drama and action here to keep you turning pages. I have to say I have not read anything like it since 'Lonesome Dove.' The author nailed this one and I am sure it will become a classic tale of the modern west!
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on 6 June 2008
From the cover of the book I was expecting a typical western but nothing could be farther from the truth. This is a modern day story set in the wilderness of California's high Sierra. Its the story of a young lady searching for herself and finding herself working for a pack station (A pack station is a buisness that transports wilderness visitors on the backs of mules and horses). Being a green horn she has no idea what she is in for, and this forms much of the early humor in the book. There is also something of a love triangle between her and two of the guides. As the story progress we meet more of the eccentric crew that works at the pack station and are introduced to the amazingly beautiful country. This book has it all Salty Characters, action, humor, and a little sex. I was sad when I turned the last page and had to say good by to all my new friends.....
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on 7 August 2010
Never got to finish this book as it didn't hold my attention at all.Very poor.
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