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THE LANGUAGE OF HOOFBEATS: a Novel ~Catherine Ryan Hyde

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

“And that, I realized, is the worst price we pay for living in a dearth of true communication.  We go through our whole lives thinking it’s only us.  And that has to be the deepest, most bone-chilling definition of the word ‘alone’.  You can have a crowd around you, a circus, but they can’t spare you from that brand of loneliness.” (from location 92%)

From Amazon the story description:

“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.“

This is one of the nicest stories of family bonding I think I have ever read.  I believe readers from middle school to 100 would enjoy this story.  For me it has a special appeal of an adoptive/fostering family finding their connections and working through the hard stuff – finally together.  The ending was not as comfortable as one would imagine in a traditional story, and yet it was finding a happiness which shined forth. I liked how the difficult neighbor assisted everyone in finding their own voice and not being afraid to say, “I don’t like this.”  Lots of learning to problem solve and communication happening in the LANGUAGE OF HOOFBEATS.

I received an advanced unproofed, uncorrected copy of this book from TLC Booktours  for review and I feel it was a privilege to be able to share this story with you.  I am grateful for the opportunity and think this would make a lovely gift.  I curled right up on a 19’F sunny morning and read it beginning to end and I will add it to my Holiday reading shelf.  THE LANGUAGE OF HOOFBEATS is a gem.

Know any teenagers who are moody?   Know someone who needs a happy ending? Concerned about children and their welfare?  Have a troublesome neighbor? Need a sense of belonging?   I do recommend THE LANGUAGE OF HOOFBEATS

Here’s what it says about the author at the end of my e-read:

“Catherine Ryan Hyde is the bestselling author of twenty-four novels, including the 1999 smash hit PAY IT FORWARD, which has been translated into more than two dozen languages, and was made into a major motion picture starring Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt, and Haley Joel Osment.  In addition to her novels, Hyde is the author of more than fifty short stories and is founder and former president (2000-2009) of the Pay It Forward Foundation.  During her years as a professional public speaker, she addressed the National Conference on Education, met with AmeriCorps members at the White House, and shared a dais with President Bill Clinton.”

Catherine Ryan Hyde Website
Catherine Ryan Hyde Blog
Catherine Ryan Hyde Twitter
Catherine Ryan Hyde Facebook

I just wanted to tell you every detail of the story – but I hate reading reviews that spoil or tell too much.

The Pact
The Dragon’s Pawn
The Sowing
ANTS or Automatic Negative Thinking

THE PAPER GARDEN: An Artist Begins Her Life’s Work at 72 ~Molly Peacock

Monday, May 14th, 2012

The Paper Garden was/is a must read book for me, I was drawn to it from our first encounter and have not been disappointed by it even after reading it two times.  This book has its own unique story of how it arrived in my hands, even as it is a unique story about a unique artist.

An Extraordinary Book a Wonder Full Read

I first encountered The Paper Garden when I was searching for a gift for my artist friend Jane’s 60th birthday.   I have written about Jane before, actually several times, for you see, Jane  was waiting to hear if she would be “pink slipped” or if she would be moved to a new state project for less pay and retain her health insurance.   Her optimism was infectious as she sorted our whether or not to start her own art business yet hoping to make it to retirement on what she could earn; that seemed an exciting but worrisome leap.

Jane is one of the long term members of one of my book groups.  I wanted the gift to be just right and knew it would need to be a book.   I went to the TLC online book tours site and started reading reviews.

tlclogoThere it was, The Paper Garden, as I read that it is a biography of an artist who beings her life work at 72 and realized it was about second chances and opportunities, I knew I needed to choose this book and wrap it with care.

Nine months after the purchase, TLC book tours emailed and ask if I would consider reviewing the book. Bloomsbury sent me a copy.  Of course! I would love to read this book and it was a lovely and memorable read.

The author, Molly Peacock  is a poet and teacher, who has included memories of her own life and second chances which parallel the artist’s life.   They were meant to be friends I am sure of it.  Peacock used all the historic references she could find and visited London and Ireland numerous times to research and touch base with the still existing works of art, which are treasures of the Royal Museum – all 900 some paper collages.  Much of her primary work involved reading the thousands of letters written to the artist’s sister and preserved by family members over time.  Both the biography and the memoirs are remarkable stories and how they weave renders them more endearing.

Mary Granville Pendarves Delany was born in England on May 14, 1700.  Her Aunt trained her to be a member of the royal court, but she was never chosen and rather at age 16 married off to an older, alcoholic, insecure fellow with a castle.   Mary Granville Pendarves was confined to the castle with a huge hole in the roof, and so she mastered her embroidery, designed incredibly stunning gowns for herself and ladies of the court.  She sewed and embroidered with mastery.  Her other endeavors included rebuilding and designing the castle gardens into a remarkable show piece.

Pendarves died of a heart attack before he could change his will, so the estate went to a niece and Mary was left with a widow’s stipend.

She married a kind and loving man, who was a clergy in Dublin, Ireland and they had a delightful time together. Mrs. D as she was called in the book, painted the walls of the new chapel; she and her husband designed and built a remarkable and stunningly beautiful garden for their home.  Mr. Delany was older also and he died a few years after Mrs. D’s beloved sister died.

In her grief, Mrs. D became a sort of companion to a Duchess, the King, and Queen and though she had a house in London spent a good deal of each year with the Duchess.  It is here as she grieved the loss of her sister and husband and with 72 year old hands and eyes, she began making her botanical collages.  These intricate layers of cut paper also served as a record of what was in the garden preserving the botanical names that were being assigned to the flowers.

Mrs. D not only cut and sculpted the paper into works of art, which are still revered; she also made the paper, the paint and the flour and water paste which was used to produce the pieces.  There are 14 chapters each beginning with a template of one of the collages she cut – even in my paperback edition.

The beauty of this book from the words, the lives and livings shared, the art, history, science, and the blooms makes this volume  a gallery showcase.  This story was strikingly told by the poet and it is masterful.

I have put my copy by my reading chair, so that anytime I feel as though I am too old or that I have not accomplished something worthwhile, I can open it and discover it anew.  Just as I am full of wonder for each flower I experience, it is thus with this fine book and awesome read; I think I shall never grow tired of it.

“But in life our routines are the sign posts of destiny.” ~Molly Peacock

I feel privileged to be writing this review on the anniversary of Mary Grenville Pendarves Delany’s  Birthday

A stunning book

If you purchase anything from Amazon or Powell’s I will receive a few beans in my bucket.  Thank you.

British Edition also available at Powell’s for $1 more.

Please use the SHARE Button and assist me with a shout out about this lovely book.

Related Reading:

The Paper Garden website – with Peacock sharing her own words and thoughts about the Artist along with music and a power point presentation of the mosaics and painting from the book (2 minutes)
Walter’s Muse
The Swan Thieves
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay