Remember My Beauties: Review

**Thanks NetGalley for Remember My Beauties for this review, which contains affiliate links at no cost to you.

Imagine being the dutiful daughter growing up. Now, your elderly parents depend on you to do most everything for them. Your teenage daughter has gone off the rails and is into drugs and sketchy guys. You have a full-time job. Your husband’s kids live with you and have their own issues. Yet your parents don’t seem to appreciate all your sacrifices for them, instead preferring your wayward brother.

That’s the stressful world Jewel inhabits in Remember My Beauties.  I was drawn to this book by its description and by the lovely cover. Jewel’s escape is her beloved horses, who she grew up with and who still live at her parents’. When things get to be too much, she heads out to the stables for some peace with her “beauties.” She takes care of them: “Use the pick to clean around the shoe to the bars, sole, and frog, get out whatever he’s got stuck in there. Packed manure, glass, a stone: any of it can make a horse go lame. I cry over what’s stuck in me for which there is no pick.”

Time with the horses gives Jewel the opportunity to contemplate her life, and what it has become — “Somehow the choices in my life just made themselves, dragging me along behind them.”

Jewel’s dad has always been the one in the family who took care of the horses, but now he is blind (“how he  missed running his own life”). Jewel says of her dad, “Sometimes I want to kill him for loving horseflesh more than his own flesh and blood. But then there’s this: I get it. Sometimes I do, too.”

The book does a great job of capturing the often-complex relationships we have with family members. It also depicts beautifully the therapeutic value of our relationships with animals. The writing is good; dialogue all is realistic and not forced (this is harder to do than you’d imagine!).

The book ends, predictably, with a climax that shakes the “house of cards” the family has become. But various characters grow in positive and surprising ways, and the ending is hopeful.

Great reading if you enjoy a good story, and bonus points if you love animals too.

 

Lynne Hugo

Lynne Hugo – credit Alan deCourcy

Not long after I’d posted my review somewhere (NetGalley? GoodReads?), the author, Lynne Hugo, kindly emailed to thank me. We exchanged a few emails, and I learned that she’s truly a delightful person. The horses in the book were named after actual horses she’s known (or known of) in real life!

8 thoughts on “Remember My Beauties: Review

  1. And now I’m thanking you again, Susan! I’m honored that you chose Remember My Beauties and so happy that you found it a good and hopeful read. Coming from another author, that’s especially meaningful.

  2. I’ll add this to the pile to read. My Dad was only fully alive and happy with his horses. My brother and sil do therapeutic riding for disabled kids.This sounds like a good read!

  3. Love your review. Sounds like a great story with a wonderful, appreciative author. If my TBR stack wasn’t so high, I’d put this novel on it. My daughter gave me a small wooden sign that says: “Life is short. Read fast.” So true.

  4. This book is very appropriate right now with the annual Kentucky Derby so near in early May! I appreciated seeing the picture of the author, because she looks like and sounds like a good friend for you. My long time friends live outside of Lexington, KY where there are many horse farms all around. My husband and I love to go on a horse farm tour whenever we visit them. While I have been to the Derby Park a few times over the years, I have never watched a horse race live when there. Watching the Kentucky Derby on TV is interesting, albeit so short and sweet.

  5. I’m sure I would enjoy this book. I’ve never loved horses, but since I love animals in general, I’m sure this would be a good read. Thanks for introducing me to the book.

  6. I hope Susan won’t mind the author weighing in here again: first, this is to “hopeslibraryoflife.” What you said about your Dad reminded me of how the character Hack feels about his horses. The novel very much deals with the therapeutic effect of animals, which put me in mind, too of your brother and sil.
    To Leona: outside Lexington is just where the book is set! I’m very familiar with the area, because my daughter did her undergraduate studies at Centre College in Danville. Now she lives in Louisville, so we, too, have been to Churchhill Downs. Isn’t it spectacular? That’s part of what gave me the idea to make Hack a (failed) breeder/trainer.
    And to Elaine: I’ve tried to make the novel speak to the human/animal relationship broadly as well as the complexity of family dynamics.
    Thank you all! And, again and always, thank you Susan!

Thanks for taking the time to comment. I enjoy hearing your thoughts.