The Language of Hoofbeats – Catherine Ryan Hyde

Happy Tuesday guys!

It took me a while to finish this one simply because I forgot that I had started it, and only realized after New Years that I didn’t finish. A hint that I’m reading too many books at the same time maybe? Naaah. The synopsis is borrowed from Goodreads:

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. 

I don’t quite know what I expected from The Language of Hoofbeats, to be honest. This is the kind of book the 15-year-old me would be thrilled about, but she was also more of a hopeless romantic than the modern day I am. In my head, the story took place where I spend my year abroad in the US when I was 17. The house we lived in was just across the road from our neighbours and they had horses, so in some ways the story seemed familiar just because I pictured it like I did. I see online that a lot of people were thrilled about this book as well, and I suppose I can see why. The story is touching with good characters and I believe that it can drag you in emotionally, but it didn’t do that with me. While reading I felt like I was waiting for something to happen, but it never did. No, that’s kind of a lie because something did happen in the story, not just what I expected or had in mind as far as ‘happening’ goes. I think I was waiting for something that would glue me to the pages, but it never did. The closest I got was in the ending, but I could still see where the story was headed, and that took a great deal of the fun away from me.

However, I really liked how Hyde was able to portray her characters in a very lively and accurate way. There’s a lot of different characters in this story which creates a good portion of the limited action within the book. Clementine, the angry neighbour, is a good example of how people can get a second chance in life if you’re just willing to work on yourself. Star is the same way, but she is young and lacks some of Clementine’s intelligence on the matter although she outshines her when it comes to taking the necessary changes in order to fix things. My favourite character is young Quinn. He has such a bright perspective on life and seems to believe that it is good within everyone. During the story, he asks several very honest questions in the way only children can, and you can’t blame him for it. Actually, he brings forward several important things to think about, for everybody. I think my favourite question was when he asked Clementine; ‘Why are you so mean?’.

The Language of Hoofbeats doesn’t have a lot of action, but it has great characters. It is the kind of feel-good story that will brighten a rainy day alongside a hot beverage. Not my favourite, but you can’t love them all, and that’s ok.

Published: 2014

Genre: Fiction

Theme: Family, trust, horses, second chances

– The Book Reader

The Language of Hoofbeats

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