Paperback: 194 pages
Publisher: Switchgrass Books; 1 edition (April 18, 2016)
Imagine a hawk’s view of the magnificent bluegrass pastures of Kentucky horse country. Circle around the remnants of a breeding farm, four beautiful horses grazing just beyond the paddock. Inside the ramshackle house, a family is falling apart.
Hack, the patriarch breeder and trainer, is aged and blind, and his wife, Louetta, is confined by rheumatoid arthritis. Their daughter, Jewel, struggles to care for them and the horses while dealing with her own home and job—not to mention her lackluster second husband, Eddie, and Carley, her drug-addicted daughter. Many days, Jewel is only sure she loves the horses. But she holds it all together. Until her brother, Cal, shows up again. Jewel already has reason to hate Cal, and when he meets up with Carley, he throws the family into crisis—and gives Jewel reason to pick up a gun.
Every family has heartbreaks, failures, a black sheep or two. And some families end in tatters. But some stumble on the secret of survival: if the leader breaks down, others step up and step in. In this lyrical novel, when the inept, the addict, and the ex-con join to weave the family story back together, either the barn will burn to the ground or something bigger than any of them will emerge, shining with hope. Remember My Beauties grows large and wide as it reveals what may save us.
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Jewel is trying to do it all, and believes that she is the only one who can. Jewel works two jobs, one of which is for the county Eldercare taking care of her ailing parents, since Jewel is the only one her mother will allow to help her. Jewel also helps her blind father take care of the horses, the only things that Jewel feels that she still loves unconditionally. In addition to her parents, Jewel’s second husband Eddie just doesn’t seem to get what she is going through, Jewel’s daughter Carley is involved with drugs and a deadbeat boyfriend who keeps pulling her down, Eddie’s daughter Chastity is anything but her name suggests and Eddie’s son, Rocky is going to come live with them despite Eddie paying child support. The tip of the iceberg however is when Jewel’s mother tells Jewel that her brother Cal will be staying with them. Jewel can’t forgive Cal for a past indiscretion and when he shows up and does something else unforgivable, Jewel quits Eldercare and leaves everyone to figure it out on their own. She just can’t stay away from the horses though, knowing that they won’t be getting the best care.
An emotional tale of family, horses and forgiveness. This is not only a story of a rollercoaster of family dynamics, but how the non-human members of our family can affect us. I loved that every character in this story was very real and flawed; they held grudges, made mistakes, had vices and addictions and gave up hope. However, when things really mattered they came together and made things work. Most of the story is told from Jewel’s point of view, and I do sympathize a lot with her situation; the feeling that you are the only one who can do something and everything will fall apart without you. There are also points of view from almost every other character in the story, which got a little confusing when they switched, but I figured it out. The best point of view for me, as a horse lover was definitely the horses themselves! This really highlighted the horse and human relationship and tied everything together in a unique way. A great read for anyone who loves horses or for the sandwich generation who is trying to do it all.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
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