Elk Love: A Montana Memoir

Now Available from She Writes Press

Having spent ten summers on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation near Glacier National Park, part of her doctoral fieldwork for a Ph.D. in Native American Art History at Columbia University, forty-two-year-old Lynne Spriggs thinks of Montana as her healing place. When she moves to “Big Sky Country” from the East Coast in a quest to reset her life, she has high hopes for what awaits her.

Great Falls, a farming and military town in central Montana, is not what Lynne imagined when she left city life behind. But her dream of being more connected to nature in the American West comes alive when she meets Harrison, a handsome rancher thirteen years her senior. Wary but curious, with her dog Willow by her side, she leans into the seasonal rhythms of his unfamiliar existence. In a modern world where listening is rare, Elk Love explores an intimate place where loneliness gives way to wonder, where the natural world speaks of what matters most.

Praise for Elk Love

“In all the love stories I love best, it is impossible to tell whether the real object of desire is the man, or the mountain he lives on, or the elk that stands on that mountain and bugles to his mate. So it is for Lynne Spriggs, who works her way into the hearts of all three with a savvy combination of curiosity, independence, and tenacity. In prose that is by turns rapturous, bawdy, hilarious, and serene, Elk Love sings a song of relationship; with the man, yes, but also with the Earth.”
—Pam Houston, author of Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country

Elk Love is a beautiful memoir about love, grief, intimacy, and finding one’s place in the world. Throughout the vivid seasons and daily rhythms of rural Montana, Lynne Spriggs O’Connor deftly illuminates her own transformation through her unique relationship to this wild place and a man who makes his home there. Art, ranch life, and romance converge in this remarkable love story that distills the truth… and so much more.”
—S. Kirk Walsh, author of The Elephant of Belfast

“If you long for a respite from the crush of this busy world, read this book. I basked in every page. You will be transported and renewed, and you will ask yourself: What would it take for me to open my heart to true, and unabashed, wonder?”
—Laura Munson, author of Willa’s Grove

“Generous, frank, and fearless, O’Connor’s memoir is chock-full of lush imagery and magical encounters. Sometimes harrowing, sometimes hilarious, told with a perfect mix of humility and brio, Elk Love demonstrates what it means to endure, to sustain, to adore the fierce wildness of the world around us and to nurture that wildness in ourselves.”
—Kim Barnes, author of In the Wilderness, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize

“Anyone who loves Yellowstone and Days of Heaven will find familiar sanctuary in Elk Love’s cinematic splendor. By turns sensual, expansive, nuanced, and spare, O’Connor brings clear-eyed and incandescent prose to skim the surface then dive deep. Quietly intimate in one moment, wild and unpredictable in the next, this Montana memoir builds towards a romance that draws you in with sighs of astonishment.”
—Jenniphr Goodman, Screenwriter and Director, The Tao of Steve

“I would heartily recommend Elk Love for any library memoir collection as well as for collections that exemplify the natural environment and how city dwellers who often castigate the culture of hunters and ranchers can actually learn to appreciate if not always agree with those cultural mores.”
—Toby P., Librarian 5/5 Stars

“Like a novel one can’t put down, Elk Love takes readers into a world few will ever experience—a world we risk losing. Savor the love story within this finely crafted memoir. Hold it close as you might a loved one, or as you might hold a rare and fleeting vision.”
—Page Lambert, author of In Search of Kinship
“A woman’s new life in the western United States begets romance and a welcome sense of connection in O’Connor’s memoir… conveyed by the author’s exceptional prose. A superbly written true story of love and self-discovery.”
Kirkus Reviews
“….a soul-soothing revelation of the innate connection between nature and the human spirit.”
—Christopher Wilson, Director, Audubon Conservation Ranching Initiative

“I devoured this enchanting book…. O’Connor has composed a lyrical memoir about the sensual landscape of animals, budding love, and the intrinsic wildness of it all. This unflinching saga teaches the ancient knowledge that hope begins again as we traverse the cycles of life and death.”
—Nani Power, author of Crawling at Night, New York Times Notable Book of the Year

Elk Love: A Montana Memoir welcomes readers to explore what it means to be in relationship with one another and ultimately, with the land. In so many ways, the land beckons us towards relationship, if we would only listen. Lynne Spriggs O’Connor’s work is a celebration of the wild places that capture our hearts, the sustenance the land provides, and the complexity of human relationships in the ongoing tending of these landscapes.”
—Amber Smith, Executive Director, Women in Ranching
“Healing and invigorating, this memoir is like a breath of fresh air…. reads as a confession of a beautiful and artistic soul. The narrative is vibrant, poetic…”
—Five stars, Readers’ Favorite

“In all the love stories I love best, it is impossible to tell whether the real object of desire is the man, or the mountain he lives on, or the elk that stands on that mountain and bugles to his mate. So it is for Lynne Spriggs, who works her way into the hearts of all three with a savvy combination of curiosity, independence, and tenacity. In prose that is by turns rapturous, bawdy, hilarious, and serene, Elk Love sings a song of relationship; with the man, yes, but also with the Earth.”
—Pam Houston, author of Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country

“Generous, frank, and fearless, O’Connor’s memoir is chock-full of lush imagery and magical encounters. Sometimes harrowing, sometimes hilarious, told with a perfect mix of humility and brio, Elk Love demonstrates what it means to endure, to sustain, to adore the fierce wildness of the world around us and to nurture that wildness in ourselves.”
—Kim Barnes, author of In the Wilderness, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize

“Anyone who loves Yellowstone and Days of Heaven will find familiar sanctuary in Elk Love’s cinematic splendor. By turns sensual, expansive, nuanced, and spare, O’Connor brings clear-eyed and incandescent prose to skim the surface then dive deep. Quietly intimate in one moment, wild and unpredictable in the next, this Montana memoir builds towards a romance that draws you in with sighs of astonishment.”
—Jenniphr Goodman, Screenwriter and Director, The Tao of Steve
“I devoured this enchanting book…. O’Connor has composed a lyrical memoir about the sensual landscape of animals, budding love, and the intrinsic wildness of it all. This unflinching saga teaches the ancient knowledge that hope begins again as we traverse the cycles of life and death.”
—Nani Power, author of Crawling at Night, New York Times Notable Book of the Year
“Like a novel one can’t put down, Elk Love takes readers into a world few will ever experience—a world we risk losing. Savor the love story within this finely crafted memoir. Hold it close as you might a loved one, or as you might hold a rare and fleeting vision.”
—Page Lambert, author of In Search of Kinship
“A woman’s new life in the western United States begets romance and a welcome sense of connection in O’Connor’s memoir… conveyed by the author’s exceptional prose. A superbly written true story of love and self-discovery.”
Kirkus Reviews

Elk Love is a beautiful memoir about love, grief, intimacy, and finding one’s place in the world. Throughout the vivid seasons and daily rhythms of rural Montana, Lynne Spriggs O’Connor deftly illuminates her own transformation through her unique relationship to this wild place and a man who makes his home there. Art, ranch life, and romance converge in this remarkable love story that distills the truth… and so much more.”
—S. Kirk Walsh, author of The Elephant of Belfast

“If you long for a respite from the crush of this busy world, read this book. I basked in every page. You will be transported and renewed, and you will ask yourself: What would it take for me to open my heart to true, and unabashed, wonder?”
—Laura Munson, author of Willa’s Grove
“….a soul-soothing revelation of the innate connection between nature and the human spirit.”
—Christopher Wilson, Director, Audubon Conservation Ranching Initiative

“I would heartily recommend Elk Love for any library memoir collection as well as for collections that exemplify the natural environment and how city dwellers who often castigate the culture of hunters and ranchers can actually learn to appreciate if not always agree with those cultural mores.”
—Toby P., Librarian 5/5 Stars

“Healing and invigorating, this memoir is like a breath of fresh air…. reads as a confession of a beautiful and artistic soul. The narrative is vibrant, poetic…”
—Five stars, Readers’ Favorite
Elk Love: A Montana Memoir welcomes readers to explore what it means to be in relationship with one another and ultimately, with the land. In so many ways, the land beckons us towards relationship, if we would only listen. Lynne Spriggs O’Connor’s work is a celebration of the wild places that capture our hearts, the sustenance the land provides, and the complexity of human relationships in the ongoing tending of these landscapes.”
—Amber Smith, Executive Director, Women in Ranching