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Counting the Cost

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3.86  ·  Rating Details  ·  69 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
For handsome, hard-riding cowhand, Heck Benham, life is as solid as the New Mexico countryside he loves, as predictable as the annual spring roundup. Yet, that all changes when Mrs. Ruth Reynolds moves from back east into his homeland and into his heart. The stark contrast in their lives is played out in a territory that is, itself, coming into its own. As Ruth and Heck fa ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published January 30th 2009 by Inglestone Publishing
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Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtryTrue Grit by Charles PortisBlood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthyBury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee BrownAll the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy
Best Westerns
169th out of 764 books — 968 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 170)
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Liz
Jan 20, 2009 Liz rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Actually...I wrote it. In plotting and writing other books I learned that some books are gifts, that you are a channeler of a tale that comes from somewhere further than inside you. This was one of those gifts. Based on family history and set in the Great Depression, it's the tale of a cowboy and a socialite from back east, of opposites attracting and the inevitable fallout from choices made in the heat of passion.
Cecily
Jan 07, 2009 Cecily rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of serious fiction, masterful storytelling, Western romance
As the editor for Counting the Cost, you may say I'm a bit biased and, yet, its greatness has very little to do with me and so very much to do with the author's masterful abilities and her passion for the story behind this book. Based on Liz Adair's own family history, Counting the Cost is a fascinating read. The author not only draws you in with her well-crafted scenes, historical accuracy, interesting details and her believable characters and their gut-wrenching choices, but her emotion-laden ...more
Dale Baker
Jan 23, 2009 Dale Baker rated it it was amazing
Liz Adair tells a wonderful story about a romance between a New Mexico cowboy and an Eastern society woman that is absolutely spellbinding. It's funny, sad and very well written. It made me think about life, love and the consequences of our actions. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a really good read. I read it three times.

Well done, Liz.
Monique
Jan 19, 2009 Monique rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Laurie
Jun 04, 2015 Laurie rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tristi
Feb 07, 2009 Tristi rated it liked it
I have a confession to make—when I first picked up “Counting the Cost,” I had a hard time getting into it. There were some typos, a lot of characters, a lot of details, a lot of back story, and I was getting lost. I set it down and came back to it last night. This time I was able to catch the kite’s tail of the story and stayed up until 3 am, finishing it in one sitting.

The year is 1935. Heck Benham works as a cowhand in New Mexico, talented with a rope, with the animals, and with leadership. He
...more
Stephanie
Feb 16, 2009 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
In Liz Adair’s new novel, Counting the Cost, the Southwest in the early twentieth century comes to life. Ms. Adair has an uncanny ability to transport any reader from their own situation, and transplant them into the rigid and challenging life of a cowboy in New Mexico.

Heck Benham understands life on his terms. He understands cattle. He understands hard work. He understands family values. But everything he holds sacred is about to be challenged when Mrs. Ruth Reynolds drives her way into Heck’s
...more
Kerry
Apr 11, 2009 Kerry rated it really liked it
Years ago my friend, Liz, asked me to read this manuscript. I loved it, particularly because it's based on her family history. I was really pleased to get a copy of it for Christmas this year. So glad to see it finally published. Liz has an amazing ability to put words together that I've always been envious of. Good book!
Tanya
Jan 09, 2010 Tanya rated it it was amazing
"Ache" is a strange word. To begin with, it looks strange, and I'm certain any foreigner struggling to learn English would mispronounce it at the first try. But, after finishing Liz Adair's novel, "Counting the Cost," it was the word which seemed to sum it up the best.

On one hand, "ache" connotes a continuous kind of pain, whether it's the literal sort you might feel in a part of your body, or the figurative type associated with heartbreak, sadness, or compassion. Yet "ache" can also refer to a
...more
Kathryn
Dec 06, 2010 Kathryn rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shanda
Full review originally posted here: http://www.ldswomensbookreview.com/wo...

Liz Adair, author of The Spider Latham Mystery series and The Mist of Quarry Harbor, has written a memorable story, inspired by her own family history, about two people willing to give up what they know for love.

Counting the Cost is a fitting title at the beginning of the book, and even more so by the end. It is the story of Heck and Ruth, their lives and their love.

Heck Benham’s simple and steady cowboy life is disrupte
...more
Shelah
May 04, 2010 Shelah rated it it was amazing
I know you're not supposed to judge a book from its cover, but since starting to read the Whitney Award nominees, I know that I've been doing just that. I look at the artwork, the fonts, and the quotes on the back cover. I look at the font size of the text and the quality of the paper. If the paper is rough and the cover artwork is cheesy, I tend to conclude that the book will be bad. Reading the first few chapters of Counting the Cost, I expected it to be bad. So I was surprised when it turned ...more
Lisa
Feb 28, 2011 Lisa rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, lds
Takes place in New Mexico (cowboys) during the depression. This was a love hate book for me. I almost quit about a quarter of the way through because I knew what was coming and it was making me mad but I'm glad I stuck with it. There was some religiosity that I feel really made a good story great. I found myself loving Heck and feeling bad that he had to suffer the consequences of his poor choice but glad that the story didn't end happily. There were times when I felt like slapping Ruth. I was f ...more
Courtney
May 05, 2010 Courtney rated it liked it
I started out this book letting all my little frustrations with Adair's writing style get to me (sometimes I think, WOW, that is TOTALLY the wrong word Liz!). But, the story line is actually pretty darn good. I really started liking it a lot. The only reason it doesn't get more stars is because I really hated the ending. I found it abrupt and it didn't really make much sense for the characters or story line. Also, I found both Heck and Ruth to be very static the entire way... I wanted to witness ...more
Jessie
Dec 30, 2011 Jessie rated it liked it
Shelves: lds-fiction
I'm not usually a big romance reader, but had heard about this book from several sources after it was nominated for a Whitney Award (and won). For some reason, I had a hard time starting it. I actually put it down after a few chapters and came back to it after reading a few books in between. After a while it got better and I really enjoyed it. Although my grandparents lived in a different part of the country, they married during the same time period and I often thought of them while reading this ...more
Pam
Dec 26, 2010 Pam rated it really liked it
This is one of those stories with a simple setting - New Mexico in the 1930s - and a simple plot, but the story transcends both. It isn't just a story about a cowboy, so I wouldn't call it a western. In its own way it's timeless as it explores the question of what a person is willing to pay, in terms of personal compromise, to have a life with the one they love. An ominous incident at the beginning is a grim foreshadowing of what the total cost will be when Heck and his friend find and kill a bl ...more
Michelle Llewellyn
Oct 03, 2010 Michelle Llewellyn rated it it was ok
This is not the book I voted for in the Whitney Awards contest and the library wait list was so long by the time my turn came, the contest was over and this book had won. Now that I've read it I have to agree with other reviewers. I liked it at first but the ending was dissapointing. I don't like books where the male hero is so flawless and perfect the only choice the author has is to kill him off in the end. In a world of marry-go-round marriages this book could've set a good example of facing ...more
Joyce
Jul 19, 2011 Joyce rated it really liked it
Set in 1935 New Mexico, Counting the Cost provides a wonderful window on a long ago era. Vividly written, beauty, joy, and tragedy alike are described in rich detail. If you love historical fiction, especially set in the American West, you will enjoy Counting the Cost.

NOTE: Counting the Cost won the 2009 Whitney award in Romance, but this is by no means a romance book. I would classify it as a historical novel, but I've heard some call it a "love story".
Marsha Ward
Apr 11, 2009 Marsha Ward rated it it was amazing
I actually had the exquisite opportunity to read this novel in advance and give a pre-publication endorsement. The published work still stands up to my first estimation:

This book is a poignant look at a grand passion between opposites, a sensory delight filled with lush descriptions, spot-on dialogue, and a well-told story of choice and accountability. Liz Adair is a masterful storyteller. Don't miss reading this book!
Ralynn
Jan 06, 2014 Ralynn rated it did not like it
Bored to death only read the first chapter, it was just slow and really not that intersting to me.
Christine Thackeray
Jun 18, 2010 Christine Thackeray rated it it was amazing
Fabulous. Liz has an artful gift of description and the story haunted me. When I finished I had to think and then after about a day it totally hit me and I got it. It so deserved the Whitney Award and now I'm collaborating on turning it into a screenplay. It's awesome stuff!!
Liza
Feb 02, 2012 Liza rated it it was amazing
Love her choice of the perfect word to pull up the imagery of the life and times i.e. gesticulating, gravid, strode, bereft, blithely, words with more character than our monotonous often boring vocabulary. Have we become lazy speakers? Quilty here.
Spencer
Apr 24, 2009 Spencer rated it liked it
Was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book at first, but then I was surprised at how aimless it became for me towards the end. Then the end itself was quite unsatisfying for me. So, liked it; didn't love it.
Judie
Jun 08, 2010 Judie rated it it was amazing
Life is choices and the ensuing consequences, and this story portrays that very well. It's also about what can happen when people from very different backgrounds fall in love and marry.
Danni
Mar 26, 2011 Danni rated it liked it
This book was a page turner. It was also action packed. There was a lot of drama too. It was a cowboy love story. I liked it alot I don't really do the cowboy scene but this was good.
Angela
Jan 20, 2012 Angela rated it liked it
I couldn't get over the fact that she didn't love her husband enough to accept him for what he is!!! She drove me CRAZY!!! Don't read if you don't like a happy ending.
Tamara
Sep 05, 2009 Tamara rated it liked it
I thought this book was well written but it gave me a bad feeling because there was so much unhappiness in it.
Karla
May 09, 2011 Karla rated it liked it
Recommended to Karla by: Whitney award winner
I liked this book, but was disappointed at the lack of growth in either main character and by the abrupt ending.
Laura
Sep 30, 2010 Laura rated it really liked it
Nicely written but not what I expected. The story deals with living with the consequences of decisions.
Josi
Really enjoyed both the story and the history encapsulated within it. Very well written.
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