by Anastasia Hobbet
Environmentalism, land use, neighborhood politics and love at first sight are all themes of this novel set in a Wyoming ranching community. The Pleasure of Believing centers around six characters: Roberta Shea- a wildlife advocate who converted her family's cattle ranch into a raptor rehabilitation center, her politician husband Glen, her niece Muirie who comes to visit, Sherman the local vet, a hardworking sheep rancher Carl and his artist wife, Flo. It is all about conflicts of interest and the estrangements that have come between these people. Two key developments are Carl's move to protect his sheep which endangers local wildlife and unleashes Roberta's suspicion and anger as she searches for the prepetrator, and Sherman's and Muirie's attempts to teach a blind hawk to fly against Roberta's better judgement. The outcomes of these two parallel events unfold together towards a tragic ending that speaks of difficult choices and strength of character.
I liked this story, but I was disappointed in it. The ideas and characters were potentially interesting, and I wanted to learn more about the details of bird rehabilitation. Unfortunately, I felt that the author was a good storyteller, but not a great writer. This is the kind of book I could easily read with background distractions going on and my toddler talking to me every five minutes, and not miss much. It was just... rather dull. If it had been more literary, it would have received a higher rating and stayed in my library. As is, I'm moving on.
Rating: 3/5 ........ 325 pages, 1997