Free spirit and fearless explorer Isabella Lucy Bird’s desire to travel and write about her adventures is not what her Evangelical parents had in mind for their daughter. A strong-willed woman with a keen intellect and curious mind drove her forward, but frail health prevented Isabella from leading the vibrant life she so desired. At the age of forty, she pushed all social convention aside, ignored failed remedies of the doctors and embarked on a world voyage in 1873 that changed her forever.
A six month detour in the lush Hawaiian Islands gave her new strength and stamina. A tenacious horsewoman she rode with Hawaiian natives up the flank of Kilauea to the fiery home of the Goddess Pele’s and into the depths of Waipio Valley where the gods come close. From there, she determined to explore the wonders of Colorado, where she rode 800 miles solo on her mare Birdie. In Estes Park she met an unlikely soulmate in the form of the mercurial character named Rocky Mountain Jim. She prevailed upon him to guide her up Longs Peak. Jim shared the majesty of his realm, allowed her to know the embrace of the wild and opened the floodgate to repressed sensuality.
Hers is a story of raw courage, tenacity and unflagging desire to be true to her destiny.
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Linda has long admired Isabella Bird, the plucky Englishwoman who rode with abandon in the Hawaiian Islands and the Rocky Mountains in 1873-74. Her article Riding in the Hoof Prints of Isabella Bird won the Solas Award offered by Travel Tales publications. Embrace of the Wild is a tribute to a courageous woman who crashed through social barriers to become the best loved travel writer of her time. This historical novel also demonstrates Linda’s personal conviction that nature can be our salvation. A theme that runs through all of her work.
Nothing pleases adventure-travel writer Linda Ballou, more than seeing gorgeous country from the back of a good horse. She has had the pleasure of staying at guest ranches in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona and California, along with horse treks in Ireland and Ecuador. Her articles have appeared in Equus, Horse Illustrated, California Riding Magazine and numerous travel publications. Her story Irish Mist recounting her cross-country jumping adventure in Ireland appeared in the anthology Why We Ride. Writing The Cowgirl Jumped Over Moon, a novel that takes you from the Grand Pix jumping circuit to the John Muir Wilderness, was her way of dealing with an injury that forced her to leave the jumping world behind. Cowgirl was a finalist in the Indie Excellence Awards, and was the Founder’s Choice at the 2017 Equus Film Fest in New York.