The Smoking Iron and Other Stories de Elisabeth Grace Foley

de Elisabeth Grace Foley - Género: English
libro gratis The Smoking Iron and Other Stories


A new bride faces questions about her marriage in the shadow of a prairie blizzard.

A minister's decision to raise sheep in cattle country stirs up controversy among his new congregation.

A spunky ranch girl matches wits with a thief.

A World War II veteran struggles with wartime scars while assuming the responsibilities of the family ranch.

And in the title story, a man is found shot beside a branding fire and a young rancher is accused of murder—but what crime was really committed there?

If you enjoy classic Western short stories in the tradition of Dorothy M. Johnson, Elmer Kelton, and Louis L'Amour, you'll love these seven stories capturing the grit, gumption, and buoyant spirit of the Old West.

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I am a simple girl — I see Elisabeth Grace Foley's name, I click buy8 s Katja LabontéAuthor 24 books241

I haven’t read much of Elisabeth Grace Foley’s works—unfortunately!—but I’ve read enough to know I’d love this… and I was right! It was the perfect mixture of expected and unexpected, humour and spirituality, depth and lightness.

Dakota Clothesline - 1900s Dakotas
4.5 stars. This was one of the unexpected stories! To be honest, I’m not a fan of marriage-of-convenience, but this was well done (reminiscent of Love Comes Softly ). Jonas was awesome, and I really d Charlotte, and the classic winter blizzard was a great touch! Very The Long Winter -ish.

Once in her life she had known the experience of strong emotions, had known what it was to thrill, to be eager and passionate and vitally alive; but that was all in the past and it wouldn’t happen again. She had folded all that up and laid it away an old garment, and found she could go on living and breathing and being content without it.

The Heiress & the Horse-Trade – 1890s New Mexico
5 stars. Ah, this was more along the lines of the Foley stories I know and love! It was pure delight from start to finish. Such sarcasm! Such humour! Cornelia was a hoot and I loved seeing Thad and the other guys scrambling after her brains. And Glendy Burke was the perfect accidental sidekick. ;) But my favourite part was this:

“[They] found the captive outlaw sitting in the Summerfields’ kitchen, not the man he once was. Thad was sitting astride a chair with the shotgun leveled over the back of it at his prisoner, but it had less to do with that and more to do with the fact that he had been studied intensely for the better part of an hour by three small children crowded together on a bench on the other side of the kitchen table, an experience that few men come through unchanged.”


Sheep Need a Shepherd – 1900s Montana
5+ stars. Another unexpected, and another one I really, really loved! A pastor-shepherd going against a neighbourhood of ornery cowboys, one being very influential and very bullying in his ways. Donald was SPLENDID—so authentic, so human, and so temperate. Marguerite was the perfect helpmeet for him. I admired Mrs. Glenn immensely, and in the end couldn’t help liking Henry and Terry… I had no idea how this would end and I was hooked by the story, but also touched by the message. Excellently done.

”I’ve got to simply be who I am, in church and outside it. If anybody expects me to adapt my preaching for ‘wild Westerners’—whatever that means—they’ll have to be disappointed. That’s one thing I never want to find myself doing, Marguerite: trying to tweak or tamper with the message in order to ingratiate or impress anyone. If there’s one thing I’ve been convinced of—maybe believed more strongly than anything else, ever since I first felt called to preach—it’s just that one thing: the gospel is sufficient. If I ever tried to preach in any way apart from that, I wouldn’t be any good for anything.”

Professor Pruitt’s Circulating Concert Company – 1890s, somewhere in the middle West
5+ stars. YUSSSSS, pure comedy!!! This reminded me of the Goldwater Ridge duology for some reason. I. loved. it. I don’t even know what to say besides that it was just plain hilarious. Poor Joe… he really had one wild ride. Just read this, okay? It was side-splitting. I have no other words…

I don’t think it quite fair to blame the sheriff for anything that happened, because when you’re out looking for bank robbers and you come upon a man stuffing greenbacks into a gunnysack by the handfuls, it’s only natural you stop and ask him how he came by them. The Professor didn’t take that kindly. He insisted that the money was his own life savings, the money he’d put by a little at a time after each show[.] The trouble was, without his teeth in and when excited he was hard to understand, and the sheriff not knowing the speech as well as the Company did he was more than suspicious.… It was Mrs. Pruitt who saved the situation. She didn’t bother trying to argue with the sheriff; she just hurried off to get something from the red wagon and came back and tugged at the Professor’s arm until she got his attention and told him to put his teeth in, and practically forced them into his mouth herself. The Professor’s diction suddenly came clear (one of the possemen almost fell over with surprise), and he made the speech about his life savings over again without being interrupted, and wound up by saying he was going to put them away in the wagon now and would everybody who didn’t belong to the Company please go away.
“But a bank’s been robbed,” said the sheriff.
“What’s that to me?” said the Professor. “I didn’t do it.”
The sheriff explained to him how circumstantial evidence happened to even the most respectable people (Tim agreed with him heartily about that)[.]The Professor said that he wouldn’t have his wife and daughter going back to town in chains, and the sheriff said testily that he had no intention of putting chains on any lady. Mrs. Pruitt explained what Jasper meant was that no member of the Circulating Concert Company had ever been arrested (though she couldn’t speak for what had happened to a couple performers who’d quit suddenly after they had left[.].

Lark’s Nest – 1860s Texas
5 stars. Of all the sweet, heart-tugging, soul-touching stories… The reality in this story almost brought me to tears. It can be so hard to keep life—and the home—pretty and try to instil manners and culture into one’s children and/or younger siblings. I related to Alice so much and she was such a great character. The message here was just amazing.

...it dawned upon Alice that one reason, at least, why she missed the pretty things of their old house was because to her those things had spelled home. She wanted the boys to have that same sense of home and belonging she had had as a child, and her striving to add the little touches that enriched life to the plain log house in the Texas brush was part of her trying to make it for them. Home was meant to be more than a roof to sleep under in the intervals of laboring for your bread—it was a place that fed you, taught you, strengthened you, welcomed you with open arms—a place you wanted to be. It was the thing you labored for.

Big Aspen – 1940s Wyoming
5 stars. Boy, I loved this. You don’t often get to see WWII Westerns, and the PTSD angle was superbly handled. Also, I loved the part about taking back the ranch and realizing Dan had grown up, and letting him be a man… and how Rex’s handicap didn’t break him as much as he thought. So many deep thoughts here. (Contains mild language)

As they turned their glances crossed. It was a new look from Dan: head up, eyes clear and direct, as if he too had just had a fight and won it. And Rex understood. Far from being disappointed in his brother’s weakness, for a moment Dan had been able to feel himself the strongest man in the situation, had helped to see it through, and had grown almost visibly in confidence with that feeling.

The Smoking Iron – 1880s New Mexico
5 stars. A cowboy whodunit, with plenty of humour but not a comedy. I admit I struggled to keep up with the explanation and final reveal—I’m not a cowgirl and got dreadfully mixed up about what was happening. But despite all that I hugely enjoyed the adventure, and the characters. Owen was my favourite, reminding me as he did of one of my favourite fictional sheriffs ever, Larry from the 1949 “Cover Up,” one of my favourite films (also a mystery!); but I also really d and respected Dell, and Milt + Bud were a great team.

“Dwight Harrington, St. Louis upperclassman and his Uncle Tom’s millstone-about-the-neck during his summer vacations, was the only man in that roundup camp ignorant enough about cattle to overlook one important thing[.]”
“Jupiter!” said Bud Cramer.
“It’s ‘Eureka’ he’s after,” said McCreath. “I think I’m following you now. Go on.”

*I received a complimentary copy of this book for promotional purposes. I was not required to write a positive review. These are my honest thoughts and opinions.*6-of-10-hearts indie-author-self-published-books7 s4 comments RachelAuthor 15 books172

I think this is Foley's best short story collection yet!

Here's a bit of what I thought about each story:

"Dakota Clothesline" made me angry. Parents who abandon a child to try to rescue another adult make me furious, and I don't care who knows it.

"The Heiress and the Horse-Trade" was pleasingly clever, eventually.

"Sheep Need a Shepherd" was my favorite. In fact, I would buy this book solely for this one story, even if I disd all the others. As a pastor's daughter, I am very particular about how ministers are portrayed in fiction, and I absolutely loved this fictional preacher.

"Professor Pruitt's Circulating Concert Company" made me chuckle aloud.

"Lark's Nest" was poignant and thought-provoking. Good stuff.

"Big Aspen" was a solid coming-of-age story, but also dealt with the difficulties of coming back home to 'normal life' after WWII. In some ways, it reminded me of The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), but make it a western instead. It was my second-favorite story in the book.

"The Smoking Iron" was very exciting, and almost to tense for comfort! Good stuff.

I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to review it. All thoughts and opinions here are my own.5 s2 comments Angie ThompsonAuthor 38 books1,101

Elisabeth Grace Foley is one of my top auto-buy authors, and the week before this released, I had a hard time picking other books to read because I wanted this one so badly. I also woke up at something 2 or 3 in the morning on release day (not because of this; I wasn't feeling well) and when I couldn't go back to sleep, grabbing my Kindle was the obvious choice. :D All of that just for context on how excited for the book I was. And it did not disappoint!

Dakota Clothesline - 5 stars

I've read this one on the author's blog, and I loved it so much! I know I've gone back to read it again over the years, and now I get to read it again... <3 So many feels--it's Love Comes Softly and the Little House books wrapped up together and sliced into the smallest, sweetest story. I absolutely loved Hetty's revelation and her determination to help the man she suddenly realized she loved, and Jonas...I have no words. So, so beautiful!

The Heiress and the Horse-Trade - 4 stars

Another one I'm sure I've read before on the blog, but it was fun to read it again! Enjoyed Cornelia's spunkiness and her plan to outwit the bad guy, and enjoyed the way Thad backed her up while having his own personality and opinions. And watching how everything played out was fun. :)

Sheep Need a Shepherd - 5 stars

I was very intrigued to see how all of this was going to play out! I was rooting for Donald the whole way through and hoping that other motivations weren't going to get in the way of his purpose, but I ended up feeling it was all handled very well. I d the focus on the gospel, and I d the way that even his enemies were eventually able to respect his stand even though they didn't particularly it.

Professor Pruitt's Circulating Concert Company - 5 stars

Ahahahaha, this was hilarious! I so admire the author's ability to write so many different styles and kinds of stories, and when she goes to humor, it's always on point! This one had me absolutely rolling, and I laughed out loud through most of the story. I loved all of the characters, and the situation just got more and more absurd, and I enjoyed the way it eventually wrapped up. Such a gem!

Lark's Nest - 5 stars

Through most of the story, I was enjoying it, but wouldn't have necessarily called it a favorite. And then one scene near the end brought tears to my eyes (happy tears) and catapulted it all the way up the ladder. I loved Alice's care for her family and how hard she tried to make things home and not complain, and I adored the way her brothers reacted after their eyes were finally opened to what she needed. Loved it so much. <3

Big Aspen - DNF

Gaaaah, I was so disappointed! I LOVED what I read of the story, and I felt so much for Rex, and it was shaping up to be one of my favorites for the collection--but I can't do profanity because it filters through my voice in my brain, and that's too much for me, so I had to stop. If you're not as sensitive to that as I am, you will probably love the story.

The Smoking Iron - 4.5 stars

Really enjoyed this one! I loved Dell, and my heart was in my throat as I watched them try to solve the mystery and prove he'd been framed. I was a little bit lost in some of the interim, not having quite enough knowledge of cattle work to put together the things that didn't add up, but I eventually understood and appreciated how they came to the solution. Loved so many of the other characters, particularly Milt, Bud, and Sheriff McCreath, and was glad to see justice done for Dell at least, even if it wasn't perfect on the other side. (Some very good thoughts on that subject as well.) Overall, a great addition that I d a lot.a-my-books-digital y-bl-2023-2024-genre-mix-match y-cfd-2024-ereader3 s Tony52

Elisabeth Grace Foley is one of my favourite Western writers, and here she is at her best. This volume contains seven of her short stories, all very different, and all superb. The first two stories in this collection previously appeared in the now defunct E-zine “Rope and Wire.”

“Dakota Clothesline” – this heart-warming little gem mostly takes place within a period of less than an hour (if time is to be measured mechanically by a clock). As with other Elisabeth Grace Foley stories, the landscape is itself one of the characters, with the snow and isolation of a Dakota blizzard contrasting with the warmth of the love that can grow in the human heart. My personal favourite in this volume.

“The Heiress and the Horse-Trade” – a fun story about a feisty young heroine getting out of a tough situation by means of an opportune trade.

“Sheep Need a Shepherd” – a more serious (but still gripping) story about a sheep-farming pastor in conflict with his community. This story says a lot – and says it well – about what it means to be a Christian. I also learned something about a facet of US history I wasn’t aware of.

“Professor Pruitt’s Circulating Concert Company” – a delightfully written comic story, reminiscent of the author’s novel “A Sidekick's Tale.”

“Lark’s Nest” – another heart-warming tale of an orphaned girl who is trying to create a true home for her brothers in late 1860s rural Texas. This one left me with tears in my eyes.

“Big Aspen” – another serious story, but set in a later time period than the others. Rex Carroll is a cattle-rancher in Wyoming, dealing with (among other things) PTSD as a result of his experiences in the Second World War. The PTSD aspect of the story is handled in a very insightful way.

“The Smoking Iron” – the final story in this collection is a mystery (familiar ground for Elisabeth Grace Foley, who has written several excellent mysteries in the past). A man has been shot and a calf has been branded (indeed, the iron is still smoking). There seems to be a clear motive for murder. But is everything what it seems? And how on earth is our hero going to be vindicated?

I was brought up on Louis L’Amour, and these stories are right up there with the best of his work. I’m very happy that I bought this book, and I recommend it to anybody else that loves reading Westerns.shortstories westernfiction westerns RachelAuthor 1 book31

I have enjoyed every book I’ve read by Elisabeth Grace Foley, so I was so excited to see that she was coming out with a new release. Thank you so much for the opportunity to read an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
I loved all the stories, but will comment on my favourites!
‘The Heiress and the Horse Trade’ was so funny, and I loved the MC, spunky Cornelia Summerfield.
‘Sheep Need a Shepherd’ had so much heart, and was the perfect balance of humour and thoughtfulness.
“Loving one’s neighbor doesn’t mean doing exactly what he wants whether you think it’s right or wrong. Much of the time that would mean cheerfully seeing him off on the road to hell.”
The tough but kind Pastor/Shepherd defied expectations and had me rooting for him the whole way. I loved his wife too.
‘Lark’s Nest’ was one of my favourites too. It was a gentle, heartfelt story about building a home. I could help but sympathize with Alice, as she wondered whether her efforts went unseen.
‘Big Aspen’ was a raw, honest glimpse into the life of a rancher with PTSD. It was very touching, and all the other stories, had a beautiful ending.
‘The Smoking Iron’ brought the collection to a thrilling and satisfying close.
This collection was so fun, with stories just the right length to read during my breaks at work. The were sweet and humorous, with authentic historical settings. They spanned time periods, but all had a classical 'Wild West' feel that tied them together. Elisabeth is so skilled at making her characters leap from the page. They seem so real, and she captures their emotions so well. I definitely recommend it!christian-fiction historical historical-fiction ...more1 Naomi McCullough124 2

ARC copy

Words fail me-I'm double checking the era I am living in, because I feel I went back in time and read the newest release from Lamour or Gordon D Shirreff-honestly!
The stories and characters were each unique, their pacing perfect, I could rhapsodize for hours! Each one felt someone I might know or meet the next time I ride into town.
I went from laughing my head off one minute in one story, to crying in the next. It was an experience I am delighted to have been given, and I look foreword to more of this author's works!
Can't pick a favorite, because they were all phenomenal. arc-copy clean-romance favorite ...more3 s A.243

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