The Story is the Thing
by Amy Hale Auker

Pen-L Publishing, 2014. ISBN 978-1-942-42803-9.
Reviewed by Helene Benardo
Posted on 02/28/2015

Fiction: Mainstream

Stories about cowboys and their lives have never been my thing. Having said that, I'll continue by saying that The Story is the Thing by Amy Hale Auker is one of the loveliest, most beautifully written, and deeply sensitive books I've read in ages.

The story line involves ranch owners, workers, and others written about on a series of yellow writing pads by William Morgan before his death, and read by Katy, an heir to the ranch. The action switches from the notebooks to actual accounts by each of the main characters named in the writings. At its heart, Uncle Bill is the one who knows and relates to all of them. The sense of place—the ranches in Arizona—becomes a central character as well.

Bill is not your stereotypical cowboy. He reads, writes, plays his fiddle and, in his notebooks, displays a beautiful soul. His love, wisdom, and amazing goodness, make him one of the most outstanding characters I've read about in quite a while.

The story is not all sweetness and light; after all, it's about life. Bill writes searingly and honestly of his mistakes and grave errors of judgment. By the end of the novel, I knew and liked most of those presented and wished I could have known Uncle Bill Morgan.

Amy Hale Auker lives on a ranch in Arizona. She has written two other books, one of which won the WILLA award in 2011. Visit her website.

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