Linda Ballou is a travel writer. She has penned a travel collection in addition to articles for
Examiner.com and her blog, http://LindaBallouTalkingtoYou.blogspot.com. She has also written
a historical novel, Wainani. The Cowgirl Jumped Over The Moon revolves around the riding
world, both jumping and trail riding in the Sierra Nevada, a world that Ballou has loved and lived
While reading The Cowgirl Jumped Over The Moon I felt as though I was reading two different
authors. When describing the world of horses and competitive jumping, the words flow
convincingly. It is evident that the author is familiar with the world of horses and competitive jumping. The same is true when writing about the High Sierra Nevada. Clearly Ballou has either hiked or ridden these mountain’s trails. Her descriptions are vivid and believable. Where the
book breaks down is in the dialogue between characters. It is unnatural and affected.
Here are the basics. Young woman (Gemcie) meets handsome, rich, young man (Jorge) and
marries him. Young woman seriously injures herself in a riding accident during competition.
She soon finds out that husband is being unfaithful (naturally she signed a pre nup agreement
giving her nothing). Young woman leaves husband and his family’s horse that she adores and
returns to overbearing mother’s house to continue to heal from her injuries. Young woman
decides to go on a solitary ride along the John Muir Trail with the assistance of her long absent
father’s friends. While on her solitary ride she meets handsome man #2 (Brady) who happens
to live in a fire lookout station. She stays with him until he tells her she must return home. Will
she jump the beloved horse (Marshal) in the Grand Prix? Will the handsome fire watcher come
back into her life? These burning questions can only be answered if you read the book for
Is this an original theme? Not so much. Are the characters in the book well developed and believable?
Some more than others. Does the story line keep you wanting to turn to the next page? Well
yes, it did for me. Just when I would start to lose interest, the scene would change and hook my
When Ballou is at her best, she is describing riding, competition and her relationship with
“She trotted lightly into the ring doing a quiet canter around the outside of the course, letting Marshall feel the crowd. When he relaxed, she moved forward to the double combination under the sycamores.”
Ballou’s prose also flows naturally creating a vivd sensory impression when describing
Gemcie’s mountain journey.
“The clamorous thunder of a waterfall obscured by trees grew louder when the trail started to
climb. The din drowned out the twitter of the chickadee and complaints of the stellar jays.”
I felt shades of Danielle Steele (that is not a good thing in my opinion), when she entered the
realm of romance and personal relationships.
“He poured champagne into the glasses he had hidden earlier.
“I want to share everything with you Gemcie,” he said, gazing into her eyes for assurance. He
had come to look to her for courage. She heard a coyote yipping, calling to his lonely kind.
She let him pull her to him. She melted into his strength, losing herself to him. She felt weak
enveloped in his arms as he kissed her lips and then moved tenderly down her neck, clasping
his hands on her firm breasts.”
Personally, I was interested in reading this book because I am a lover of all things “horse.” I also have wonderful memories of summers spent in the Sierra Nevada with and without horses.
Will this book appeal to non horse people? I think it will. Ballou doesn’t get too bogged down
with the technicalities of the horse world plus there is romance and some not too graphic sex
which appeals to a broad audience of readers. The story though not terribly original, does have
some interesting twists. I would consider The Cowgirl Jumped Over The Moon an enjoyable fun
summer (or winter for that matter) read.
Where to buy: Cowgirl Jumped Over the Moon
This is a guest post by Christine Bartell, a horse lover and retired school teacher who lives in Bend, Oregon.