From Library Journal
In this debut novel, Iris Steele, the last member of an Oregon farming family, inherits a ranch called Heart of the Beast and finds that the land she grew up on is considered sacred ground by the Nez Perce Indians. She also inherits a legacy of thievery, intolerance, violence, and guilt from her Indian-hating ancestors. When the Nez Perce tribe sues Iris for the land, she must prove that her claim is legitimate. She scours her family's records for legal proof of ownership, but proof of a moral right to the land is more elusive. In her search, she must confront memories of a cold, distant mother and a father whose rage caused two violent deaths in Iris's family. She also finds an unexpected connection to her courtroom enemy, the Nez Perce. Iris's story weaves through four generations of Oregonians, gradually revealing the truth Iris must face if she is to keep her land and make peace with the past. This first novel offers a moving portrait of an unforgiving yet beautiful land and the toughness needed to survive in it. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries.Karen Anderson, Phoenix
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Iris Steele is born to farm, not on small, family-scale terrain, but on huge stretches of Oregon's wheat country, and farm she does with a passion that stretches back several generations to the first settlers of the territory. Her mother's ancestral farm, the Heart of the Beast, is rented out while Iris works her father's land. Labor, climate, and land are all hard, and so are the people and the violent emotions that rule their lives. Great wealth, power, and ego in no way negate their connection to the land and tradition, nor insulate them from suffering. In fact, there's a new challenge: the Nez Perce are suing to reclaim the Heart of the Beast, which they claim was stolen from their ancestors. Iris, nearly the last of the line when her mother dies, investigates her family history to know where she stands, not only legally but morally and emotionally as well. This big, sweeping modern western is burdened somewhat by stylistic excesses but is, nonetheless, hard to put down. Danise HooverCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved