Sunday, June 23, 2013

Looking for Me

Theodora Grace Overman, aka "Teddi," always loved restoring old furniture. As a teenager, this farm girl with a big dream rebelled against her mother's push for secretarial school and ran away from her rural Kentucky home, setting off to Charleston, South Carolina where she eventually opens a shop dedicated to the refurbishing of antiques.

"...Old furniture speaks to me," says Teddi. "The older it is, the more it has to say." Such is the case with Teddi's life. In 1993, when the workaholic finds herself successful but still single at the age of 36, she begins to reflect on the lost years while trying to understand the people she left behind: a mother who never understood her daughter's aspirations; a father who returned from war a completely changed man; and an enigmatic younger brother, Josh, whose love of nature and rescuing animals may have led to his mysterious disappearance and a final letter he left behind that read, "Don't come looking for me." 

When Teddi's mother takes ill, Teddi returns to her rural Kentucky home where strange occurrences begin to emerge that indicate Josh might still be alive. Hoffman flashes back to events from Teddi's childhood in the 1960s and 70s, delving into the haunted mysteries of the past in order to shape the contours of these interconnected, yet sadly detached lives. As in Hoffman's debut novel, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, Southern wit, charm and down-home characters add levity to this story of loss and broken hearts that are ultimately restored with love, hope and remembering. 
Pamela Dorman Books, $27.95 Hardcover, 9780670025831, 368 pp
Publication Date: May 28, 2013
To order this book via INDIEBOUND link HERE

Note:  This review is a reprint and is being posted with the permission of Shelf Awareness. To read this review on Shelf Awareness: Reader's Edition (6/4/13), click HERE

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Ghost Horse

In The Ghost Horse: A True Story of Love, Death and Redemption, Joe Layden (The Last Great Fight) has crafted an inspiring love story infused with fate and coincidence, second chances and hope.

Tim Snyder was a gruff, nomadic horseman who fled hardscrabble beginnings to train "cheap horses." While working in a second-tier horse barn in upstate New York, a runaway colt in his care knocked over his quiet, unassuming coworker, Lisa Calley, with whom he became instantly smitten--and vice-versa. Lisa, ten years younger than Tim, had already survived a broken marriage, cancer and a traumatic brain injury from a previous horse riding incident. Their shared passion for horses united them as they built a married life together; her emotional sensitivity ultimately softened his unsentimental rough edges.

When Lisa's cancer returned, she promised Tim, "I'll see you again. I'm coming back as a horse." Her death left a gaping hole in her husband until, years later, he scraped together enough money to purchase a filly whose winning pedigree was offset by a sightless left eye and congenital abnormalities in her left foot and shoulders. No one but Tim believed she would ever make it to the starting gate. But "Lisa's Booby Trap," as Tim named her, took the racing world by storm, and their bond helped Tim rebound from grief and loneliness. He came to believe the filly's personality reflected the sweet, resilient disposition of his late wife.

Layden has teamed up with a variety of superstars to co-write many books, from Kobe Bryant of the NBA to heavy metal superstar, Dave Mustaine. In The Ghost Horse, Layden's writing shines on its own - insight and compassion weaving the narrative threads of this dual love story that transcends the boundaries of life and death. 

St. Martin's Press, $24.99 Hardcover, 9780312643324, 256 pp
Publication Date: May 7, 2013
To order this book via INDIEBOUND link HERE

Note:  This review is a reprint and is being posted with the permission of Shelf Awareness. To read this review on Shelf Awareness: Reader's Edition (5/21/13), click HERE