Blog Book Tour | “The Language of Hoofbeats” by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Posted Wednesday, 10 December, 2014 by jorielov , , 3 Comments

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The Language of Hoofbeats by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Published By: Lake Union Publishing
Available Formats: Paperback, Audiobook, and Ebook

Converse on Twitter via: #TheLanguageOfHoofbeats

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a tour stop on the “The Language of Hoofbeats” virtual book tour through TLC Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the publisher Lake Union Publishing, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired to Read:

When I originally heard about this story from a list of blog tours which may or may not become a tour with TLC, I cast my hat into the ring to be amongst the book bloggers who might be able to review it! One of the more interesting bits of revelation as a book blogger whose in her 2nd Year, is how extraordinary the blog tour schedules are set and how each book starts to curate it’s own unique history of going on tour! This particular book was slated to be on a blog tour, yet it was uncertain if it would be at one point. Part of me grieved a bit as even though I knew I could still read this novel through my local library (libraries are a booklover’s best friend!), there was an internal part of me who had hoped I could read and blog it for my readers!

I have been a bit open and honest about how I am going to be adopting out of (domestic) foster care in the future, as I have found different ways to broach the topic whilst either reading a book who has the same topic of interest knit inside it or if I find a window of where I could talk about being a future Mum in a way that worked with what I was blogging about at that point in time. This novel sparked an interest because it is about blended families, about having adopted children and fosters; whilst attempting to sort out how to bring a family together as a whole. To me that undercurrent of a theme for the novel spoke to me, as any Prospective Adoptive Mum never knows what is going to happen once you open your heart and home to fosters and adopted children. There is always a period of adjustment and then a moment of where all parties start to connect in ways no one could have seen but always had hoped. The journey of being a blended family through adoption or fostering of children is a path not everyone chooses to walk, but is one that is knitted into my own heart.

Therefore I am always mindful and aware of which books I want to read in the future to help encourage an open dialogue on my blog — for riveting and realistic fiction for adults as much as for stories inside Children’s Lit which can help children and teens in and out of the system find stories they believe are representative of their own life story. This particular focus on my blog began with a Middle Grade novel Red Thread Sisters and has evolved forward. In 2015, I want to take a moment out of each month to bring a spotlight on the books I’m finding through my library as there is a wonderful assortment of novels and non-fiction for foster and adoptive families right now. I even spoke about how these stories fit under my participation for seeking out more diverse literature as part of the national campaign for #WeNeedDiverseBooks.

What I hadn’t realised is the author penned the story Pay It Forward which became a bonefide motion picture! My whole focus on this book prior to the blog tour was the prospect of what I would find inside the pages and how the author would choose to focus on the harder hitting moments within. Her previous works are unfamiliar to me, and although I am aware of the film, I have not seen it. How lovely then, I came to know her through an Indie release focused on a non-traditional family!?

Blog Book Tour | “The Language of Hoofbeats” by Catherine Ryan HydeThe Language of Hoofbeats
by Catherine Ryan Hyde
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours

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.

Genres: Women's Fiction, Adoption & Foster Care

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1477824689

Published by Lake Union Publishing

on 9th December, 2014

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 342

About Catherine Ryan Hyde

Catherine Ryan Hyde is the bestselling author of twenty-four novels, including the 1999 smash hitPay 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.

A note of gratitude:
She endeared me to her as an author and as a spokesperson on behalf of the oft-times murky waters of book blurbs - I implore my readers to take a moment to visit her blog where she talks openly & honestly about the state of the blurbs (which run parallel to my own) and how book bloggers are changing the tides for the better (whole-heartedly agree!)!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via

An introduction to the characters | one family of blended hearts:

Quinn is the adopted son of Paula and Jackie, whose happy-go-lucky attitude gives his family an anchor of normalcy as much as a bit of insight in how to work through the flow of life as it arrives. Except his anxiety for having Jackie and Paula absent on any given day gives his anxiety a workout; after hearing of his past, the anxiety is natural yet heart-wrenching as it is not easily overcome.

Star is a typical teenager whose vent of angst and anguish inflicts on anyone within her personal sphere of being can become touched by it’s flames. Her emotional leverage of insight into Comet barters on the foreknowledge of knowing how well children (and adults) can benefit from being around an animal who is high strung and/or hyperactive. Sometimes emotionally hyper persons and animals who are equally hyper (even if in a different way) can cancel each other out; thereby giving each of them a more peaceful mood.

Armando is deeply attached to his birth family but wants to attempt to have a measure of independence in his life. He doesn’t quite feel as though he fits inside the family itself but at the same time he doesn’t want to leave. He’s caught in-between and is simply doing the best he can to handle the everyday. When he befriended the barn owl, I had to smile inwardly because he, too, had found an animal he could listen too and draw a breath of empathy for just like Star!

Jackie has an incredible gift for putting people at ease, especially her children of whom are still developing the trust she hopes they will have to know they are safe and loved. Her main flaw is regretting what she doesn’t do and not trusting her own  instincts to handle situations which arise out of the blue. She has a lot to give but a part of her questions if how she is being a mother is enough to cause an effect of change for the children.

Paula has the personality of a Mom who listens more than she talks; she processes a lot of things internally, trying to root out a way to not only find the peace in the rougher moments but to sort out the best way through what happens. Her spirit is not easily agitated but being a Vet it goes without saying she has learnt the ability to be calm under pressure and how to fuse her thoughts into her feelings.

Comet, the horse has a temperament you would not necessarily feel drawn too, but I have observed animals for most of my life, and I have the insight to realise the animal never fails to recognise who is need of a friend. Even if the horse such as Comet has a personality quirk not as agreeable to being safe around him, sometimes I think it is this intuition on behalf of the horse which can cause the most healing to occur.

My Review of The Language of Hoofbeats:

As soon as I alighted in the car whilst Paula and Jackie are relocating to a new home in small towne California as a way to have a new beginning for themselves and the children in their care, I automatically remembered why I miss seeing new episodes of The Fosters. Hyde has written a novel whose internal voice is set to such a fluid rhythm, you nearly have to remind yourself your reading a story rather than seeing the story brought to life in front of you! Typically moving from anywhere known to a place unknown is not something anyone ever hopes to entertain the prospect of happening; between the boxes and the uncertainty of acceptance of where your laying your hat is something we all face when we pick up sticks and shift our lives. I gathered the sense for this family, the relocation was a bit more intense than a simple ‘change of setting and scene’ as there is an evocation of emotion knitting around the edges of the narrative.

Clementine makes such a starch entrance into Jackie’s life it is merit to Jackie she did not push back the same heated exchanges Clementine was throwing into her face! Such intense dislike of someone she never met, knew nothing about, and already at the ready to judge her family! I had a feeling there were some people who wouldn’t understand the circumstances children enter foster care and why children needed to be placed in new homes; yet knowing and listening to the spite filled words are two separate things. I find society at large too judgmental and prejudicial in most cases overall, but when it comes to being neighbourly this Clementine would not win an award. The way in which she shields the horse is a bit of a tip of a clue there is a ‘story’ there; one she doesn’t want to reveal.

As the living conditions and the health of Comet start to come into central focus, we start to see how everyone’s world is starting to bleed into each other’s path; Clementine is caught between the past and the present without ever thinking of the future because it hurts too much at the moment to do so. Meanwhile, Star believes she’s found someone (Comet) who needs her attention because she can hear his whispers and the wishes of his heart. Star has a natural way with Comet; she can read his moods but also she understands him on a naturally in-tune level of compassionate intuition. Jackie (of whom most of the novel is the voice the story is written from) feels dearly overwhelmed with how to carve out the balance — the balance of the children being blended together and the balance between being a mother and a woman. Each of them are facing their own forks in the road; Mando wants to have more independence whereas Quinn wants more security and stability of mind without worry. Hyde tackles everything happening at once with the kind of grace you’d hope to find in a story like this where everyone can take their queues and nothing is missed or overlooked.

Comet is the center of the universe for this story — as the horse is the central thread of interconnection for not only Paula and Jackie or Star, but he interconnects the heart of everyone who comes into central focus. By extension, it is through Comet I believe the most change will occur for each of them individually. As we start to see the layers of what makes Clementine bitter and absolute in her opinion about everything, we start to peer into the mind of a woman who has never allowed herself to grieve. She simply finds ways to tuck everything away out of sight, thereby out of mind and heart; she elects not to listen but rather believes she can wink away what she no longer can accept to handle.

Interweaving with the emotional angst of a missing teenager and horse, is the pivotal court hearing for Armando’s Mom where a glimpse of an unfair judicial system is being shown on behalf of a woman who not only received an unfair trial but a hearing as well. I remember seeing a movie on either Hallmark Channel or Lifetime which brought up the same issue about parole hearings (it was a movie where you could train to be a firefighter whilst you were serving time); where if you were innocent or guilty you had to sure a measure of remorse in order to be free again. The truth was blurred in the subtext and the only thing that mattered was saying exactly what they expected you to say; seeing this threaded into the story drew buoyancy to Armando’s character but also to the greater issue of legal gaps for minorities.

My absolute favourite sections of The Language of Hoofbeats are when Hyde boldly speaks openly about the two sides of the conversation referring to when a child becomes yours and how the different ways a child enters your home and heart are not nearly as important as the fact they are wanted and loved. She has the characters voicing their own viewpoints on whether or not adopted or foster children are to be considered ‘your children’ at some point verse the common argument that the only time you have your ‘own children’ is when they are naturally bourne. She cleverly even wrote in the fact that if a LGBTQ couple has a natural bourne child, one of them is not going to be biologically connected yet they consider it ‘their child’ moreso than an ‘adopted child’.

I found this brave — on so many levels because my entire journey towards adoption has run into this same conversation from various sources and from a variety of people I’ve spoken to about my future plans to adopt. I have the same philosophical outlook you will find from Jackie’s sections of the story, but to summarise: a child you welcome into your heart and home is the very day you become a Mum to the child. Motherhood is not attached to anything else except the nuturement, care, encouragement and love of giving a child everything they need in life to thrive. Your a Mum (or a Da) long before a child takes up residence in your house because a part of you on the inside has already accepted their presence. Therefore, whether you adopt or conceive a child your a parent whose life has tenfold expanded in pure happiness and joy for having a child in your care.

I found myself appreciating Hyde even more than I had when I originally set down to read the novel whilst seeing how she treated the raw emotions of this topic and how what she breathed into the story could effectively give hope to everyone who believes in foster youth and foster care adoptions. It applies to different circumstances to (of which I outline below) but mainly, this felt like a win for a positive narrative on a topic that sparks such controversial conversations. There is nothing controversial about this novel — it is a genuine work of love knitted out of the acceptance of how our lives, our hearts, and our spirits move in mysterious ways towards the truth of our own journey.

I couldn’t stop reading this novel from the moment I picked it up to the moment I put it back down, it is clearly my very next ‘unputdownable’ read because Hyde has given us such an honest story! She allows all the rawness of emotion and doubt, and the curious nature of being human — those little moments where you start to question your sanity if your doing the right thing or if you have the capability to make the right choices which will effect other people’s lives. She has left the characters to evoke such an emotionally precise dialogue throughout the pages, you simply cannot pause for even a moment to see what is going to greet you on the next page! I was so overjoyed at seeing how she handled the situations within the story as much as how she gave Star a voice and a stronger presence in the latter half of The Language of Hoofbeats, which in of itself was true to life; sometimes it takes awhile to understand what it is you need to say out loud and how it is meant to be expressed.

I highly recommend this to anyone who is considering fostering and/or adopting children through foster care as it is a most definitive new classic for all non-traditional families who believe love and kindness can achieve far more than anything else when a child feels they do not belong. I even appreciated the fact Star and Clementine were multi-layered and the connection they shared I did not quite get into because it was something I wanted to be discovered with a fresh pair of eyes on behalf of the next reader — I kept trying to sort out what to say or not say, and in the end it all felt as though I’d spoilt the best bits of The Language of Hoofbeats!

On the writing style of Catherine Ryan Hyde:

Hyde has written this novel in a style I always feel as giddy as a church mouse because you get to enter the narrative per character at each new chapter! You get to change perspectives in such a quick-step manner, you never get the proper chance to realise how fast paced the story is going! Not that it’s a fast-paced novel, no, what I mean to say is that for each character whose chapter comes into view, you gain so much information in that installment it feels as though the pace has quickened when in reality, this is a beautiful slow arc of a drama set around family, neighbours, and small towne living.

The main reason I love reading in this style (am quite sure it has a more technical name; personally I read intuitively without worry over grammar designations or such) is the opportunity to settle into a different ‘narrator voice’ per chapter; for each quirky character you get a new quirky perspective on the whole. For me the chapters where Clementine is featured as the narrator you gather the sense she’s as wrought tight inside her heart and spirit as Mary Lou (played by Marsha Mason) in The Long Shot. There is a curious story ebbing out of Clementine’s chapters, she reveals more than she fears she does but it is what she leaves unsaid that encourages you to arrive at more of her sequences! When Jackie is at the helm, you gather into a mothering sensitivity about the world and about how life affords a lot of excess worry for things that may or may not come to light. She has a nurturing glow to her chapters interspersed with a wave of insecurity as she has difficulty in adapting to changes. The whole of the novel goes between Jackie and Clementine until the point where Star finds her voice and her voice demands a listening ear as she has quite a bit to say and never knew how until now.

Many times whilst I was reading the passages in The Language of Hoofbeats I was being reminded of my recent reading of Proof of Angels as this is one of those novels whose story transcends itself into something more than what is found on the page. The words etch into your own mind where you turn them over and think about the larger scope of where Hyde is guiding you; inasmuch as I had whilst I read the words left behind by Hackett.

A notation in regards to Equality in Lit | Diversity in Lit: 

I applaud such well-conceived stories set around characters who breathe a breath of fresh air into the pages their lives are writ down upon; as all families should have their stories set to the page! I appreciate finding writers who write diversity of character (here I refer to the aesthetics of characterisation) in such a manner as you never see their differences but only see their heart. You get to know them from who they are on the inside, (observing their internal thoughts or their emotional keels) whilst gaining a bit of ground on how they are perceived by others.

The dynamics of family has changed over the decades, and non-traditional families are as uniquely different from each other as the seven seas; as they are not simply couples who choose to foster or adopt children, they can be single mothers, single fathers, divorced parents, widows or widowers, Aunts or Uncles who took in children when their parents suddenly died, grandparents who step in to help with raising the children or any number of ways in which a child or a teen can enter your life via a route that is not conventional. Yet this is only one step to explain how non-traditional families are tied together, as others include Prospective Adoptive Mums like me who are a thirty-something singleton and have chosen to seek motherhood prior to finding the bloke she will marry.

This novel explores the path a LGBTQ family takes to not only forge a new beginning for their children, but how to tether a family together who is not even certain they want to be ‘a family’ at all. Children in foster and adoptive families have a whole history prior to being placed in a new home. Their memories of their birth family and of their loved ones have very strong ties to who they are as a person as much as how they perceive their place in the world and the confidence to understand their identity. To take a bold step and re-attach to a new home and a new set of parents is one of the hardest choices they will make, but what endeared me to the story overall is how heart-warming the journey of these characters became.

Lots of topics were explored inside, including prejudicial views of neighbours who are not as open and accepting of people’s differences to the cloud of darkened memories which can eclipse future happiness if the release of what cannot be changed is not forgiven.

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This book review is courtesy of:

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TLC Book Tours | Tour Host

Be sure to visit my Bookish Events for (2014) + (2015)

to see what I’m hosting next!

{SOURCES: Cover art of “The Language of Hoofbeats”, author photograph, book synopsis and the tour badge were all provided by TLC Book Tours and used with permission. Blog Tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

Tweets on Twitter in regards to Adoption & this book:

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Go Indie

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Wednesday, 10 December, 2014 by jorielov in Adoption, Blog Tour Host, Brothers and Sisters, California, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Family Life, Foster Care, Go Indie, Indie Author, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Modern Day, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Orphans & Guardians, Realistic Fiction, Siblings, Single Mothers, Social Services, TLC Book Tours, Women's Fiction

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3 responses to “Blog Book Tour | “The Language of Hoofbeats” by Catherine Ryan Hyde

    • Hallo, Hallo Beth!

      Ooh my dear goodness — would you look at how the hours are dissolving off the clock, lately!? I have continued to think about “The Language of Hoofbeats” ever since I put the book down! The visceral way in which Hyde told her story inasmuch as how convicting it is to read about an unconventional family and the ties that bind us even to the people we least expect to find a common ground with is what carried me into the heart of this beautiful story! The most uplifting part for me, is how foster-adoptive families not only affect the lives of the children they take in and give a chance to have a home inside a family who supports them, but it is how this act of kindness can inspire others who are living on the outside of that world. It is a great story about community and the unexpected moments that truly give dimensional joy to our lives.

      I nearly should have told my readers to have tissues handy, as I was quite choked up in different parts of the novel!

      Hmm, I wonder if you reviewed this novel, too!? I know we sometimes are placed on the same tours — yes! You did! And, you’ve overhauled your blog again! Quite lovely — I like how easily it is to find all of your beautiful posts, and you’ll see my sidebar kick back into gear by the end of January, as I lovingly miss my beloved blogroll of links! I’ve added your bookish blog to my scroll box, though! And, if it isn’t on my landing page it will be soon! :) I look forward to our continuing conversations as 2015 starts to get underway! I always enjoy alighting on your blog!

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