My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I am happy to be a regular reader and reviewer for Catherine Ryan Hydes books in the UK and the publishers always send me a copy when each book is released. This one was of no exception and I eagerly wanted to get 'stuck in' and read it.
Its never hard with this authors books to jump right into the story. Its like diving into a sea and exploring your surroundings. One by one you start to unfold what is what.
We have a nice little Town, everyone seems to know each other, we have a Sheriff, AND we have Clementine. Clementine is married to her long suffering husband. They had found it difficult in all the years they had been married to conceive a child. Later in life Tina is born. However, Tina didn't have the fullest and satisfying of lives and took her own life. I am mentioning this as there is a horse involved. Her parents had purchased her a horse, thinking that riding and exercise might help, having an interest. Tina looked after that horse very well, it was never once neglected. But since Tina has taken her own life Clementine cannot bear to look after the horse, she wants to, but she cannot. Her husband cleans up, he is the one that does the raking and the feeding.
How can I describe Clementine? Well, if you have ever come across a complainer, a busybody, a nosyparker, someone who is constantly at the window and has opinions about "everything" in life and surrounding them, then you are coming quite close to Clementine and what makes her tick.
Then we have Paula and Jackie who are legally married lesbians who move in across the way from Clementine. They had decided not to have children of their own but to adopt, and adopt not just any child but children who have difficulties emotionally that they feel they can help. Paula is a Vet, so she's taken over a practice there in this little town. There are no problems. Except the lady across the way ....Clementine.
Paula and Jackie have one child that they went onto adopt and two children they are fostering. One of them being a girl named Star. Star figures quite a bit in this storyline. Very negatively at first.
Clementine has a problem with the family, and the children, especially Star. She finds her rude and obnoxious.
We have the Sheriffs involvement with several things that happen, one very serious one.
We also have Clementine becoming quite ill and the 'family across the road' getting involved to look after her and what happens there.
Its a well thought out, developed read that you would expect from this author.
I was intrigued about the title of this book. THE LANGUAGE OF HOOFBEATS
OK, I thought, this is about a horse. I'm not really 'into' horses, I love them, just don't know much about them and never gone out of my way to learn.
Was I going to enjoy this book if its about horses?
Well, horses for courses! because, this fabulous author shows human nature in this book. Its not just about a horse, its about humans, its about also how animals can effect us, our emotions and also how they can help in certain situations of our lives. Everyone who has a pet knows the rewards of this!
I thought Clementine was a grumpy old woman who should get a life and get her nose out of others lives.
As it progressed, I did a 100% turn around. How we judge other when they appear grumpy all the time, or they don't have a decent word to say!!! well, its made me think, just what are their circumstances for acting this way, Clementine wasn't liked by any one much at all. Not even her husband. Who walked out.
Can people change no matter how old they are?
I also loved how Catherine Ryan Hyde made the involvement of a lesbian married couple. I am a person who says 'live and let live' and 'people are people no matter how they chose to live' I am very open minded.
I like to call it, Acceptance of Life, black, white, fat, thin, tall or small. We all are the same.
So this was a refreshing change to have a married couple of the same sex, its showing how that family functions.
The children called them P-Mom and J-Mom, I found that rather nice.
I don't want to give anymore away than I already have, but I would like to say, its a great story, its human and humane, it certainly makes you think about certain things.
This author has such an insight to people, to emotions, to feelings and so can influence an readers calmness when reading or excitement, even indifference and then.....understanding.
I would like to emphasis, because I am a regular reader for Catherine Ryan Hyde via her publishers sending me the books, it doesn't mean I HAVE to like them, I am honest, open and direct, but kind.
I really don't have a downside to this book at all, its all good.
From the bestselling author of Pay It Forward comes a story of the heartbreak and healing power of family. New to a small town, Jackie and Paula envision a quiet life for their kids: a young adopted son and two teenage foster children, including the troubled Star. However, they quickly butt heads with their neighbor, Clementine, who disapproves of their lifestyle and is incensed when Star befriends her spirited horse, Comet. Haunted by past tragedy and unable to properly care for Comet, Clem nevertheless resents the bond Star soon shares with the horse. When Star disappears with Comet, the neighbors are thrown together�far too close together. But as the search for the pair wears on, both families must learn to put aside their animosity and confront the choices they�ve made and the scars they carry. Plumbing the depths of regret and forgiveness, The Language of Hoofbeats explores the strange alchemy that transforms a group of people into a family.
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