TLC Book Tours sent me this e book for review. It was an advanced readers copy and as I have read another of Lynne Hugo’s books and I know they were well edited, I believe this copy needs some more editing; not the usual for this author who truly does her research and homework. The story is good and interesting and the two awkward jumps in the story were disconcerting.
So many stories of drug and alcohol problems are centered on the middle class and educated families. This story was center on a southern rural family on the lower edge of the middle class and rough around the edges. Their language skills were so poor they could not articulate or move their problems forward and they became stuck in a cycle of blame and negativity – a rather vicious barrier. The middle child Jewel is their only asset and she is working herself to the bone trying to keep her house, get her child off drugs and into the future, keep her blind father and ill mother clean and cared for and work her own job. Jewel is verbally abused by her family and is exhausted and not appreciated by her husband or his teenage children. Life is too much. Her older alcoholic, druggie brother drifts home and Jewel goes on strike.
What keeps Jewel functioning and holding on is her horse and her father’s three horses. She sneaks onto the property to care for her Beauties and exercise them. The several sections of the story that are the horses’ thoughts are quite wonderful. The horses are the key to reconciliation and to the family’s future. There is hope and there is a possibility to teach new tricks and ideas, when Jewel takes her firm stand.
People don’t know what they don’t know. They did not understand other options and truly needed the wisdom of teachers and counselors with a bigger worldview and an ability to problem-solve. There appears to be many, many people like this in the southern regions of the USA, but also in the rural regions of many states. If it were not for the horses and their love the cycle would not have been broken. It was not a very wide rift, the family would need more tears in the fabric of their lives in order to fully communicate and see the need for more language skills to create a more solid future. This story emphasizes the ways people are isolated, separated and forgotten in our society. An interesting read overall and needs a good discussion to go with it.
About the author:
“Lynne Hugo has published ten previous books, including poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Her memoir, Where the Trail Grows Faint, won the River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Book Prize in 2004, and her sixth novel, A Matter of Mercy, was awarded an Independent Publisher silver medal for best regional fiction in 2014. The recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, she lives in Ohio with her husband and their yellow Labrador retriever” (TLC page)