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Fiction Review    

The Time of Jacob's Trouble
By Robert L. Hall, 2002
$10.00  (178p)
ISBN:  1-59196-052-5

The title is a Biblical reference from Revelations where the twelve tribes begat by Jacob (Israel) will experience great hardship before reaping their reward.  In The Time of Jacob’s Trouble, Colt Ramsey serves ten years in prison for manslaughter of a young girl killed in competition on a drugged horse.  He was framed by his employer. 

When Colt is released, he wants to reclaim what is left of his life as a top trainer and horseman.  His convict days haunt him, and he wants to clear his name.  The bitter anger that built up over his years of incarceration is something he turns over to his faith to overcome. 

Colt becomes the trainer for a one stud breeder, whose barn and fences are needing repair, and the female owner must work at a shirt factory.  By the first weekend, Colt has turned the place around by making repairs and raising seed money through auction of two colts, stud fees, riding time, and showman skills.  The owner Brenda Riley quits her shirt factory job to set up a web site for the horse farm and travel to auctions.  Soon the horse farm thriving. 

But the troubles that put Colt in prison are still characteristic of the horse business.  Competition between breeders can turn ugly with one going to all extremes to put the other out of business.   

As a relationship builds between Colt and Brenda, she must face her own demons that keep her from trusting men.  She is driven to make the horse farm a success.  Her role as boss tends to carryover in their relationship, as she becomes an aggressive lover.  ‘Letting go’ is a hard lesson for Brenda. 

Hall’s exploration into the dark side of horse shows and the abuse some will do to horses in order to win, show his experience and thorough knowledge of the business.  His storytelling of tortured souls finding redemption and love is superb.  If you loved The Horse Whisperer, you won’t be able to put The Time of Jacob’s Trouble down till the last page.


Joyce Dixon
Southern Scribe Reviews

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