In an attempt to save her family farm, Iris Steele explores generations of family history and lore, piecing together the story of her family's past, and the events that fostered fear and distrust between early homesteaders and Native Americans, and is still felt by their descendants today.
Twenty-eight-year-old Iris Steele has just inherited her family's ranch in northeast Oregon. It is the ranch where she grew up herding cattle and harvesting wheat, and where her brother and father both died. It is also, it turns out, land that the Nez Perce Indians now claim is rightfully theirs. As Iris begins to piece together the property's legitimate ownership, she unearths not only her family's turbulent history but also two centuries of tortured relationships between homesteaders and Native Americans. Struggling with a new crop and a fragile romance, she must ultimately confront the true nature of her legacy.
In astonishing language, Joyce Weatherford
combines unflinching descriptions of ranch life with the sensuous beauty of the Oregon landscape. part romance, mystery, courtroom drama, and history, “Heart of the Beast” is a family saga of epic power and import.
's family landed in Oregon via the Oregon Trail in 1851, and Joyce grew up as a fifth-generation farmer working on her family's wheat and cattle ranch. She now lives in California with her husband and son.