The Language of Hoofbeats by Catherine Ryan Hyde



Jackie and Paula move to a small town in the hopes of providing a quiet life for their three foster children: Quinn, Armando and Star. However, a new location has not tamed rebellious Star’s attitude towards her new foster family and her arguments with Jackie regularly upset the household. Not long after they move in, Jackie notices Star crossing the road to see a poorly kept horse on the neighbour’s property. Star is immediately accosted by surly Clementine, the woman who owns the horse and believes Star is violating her privacy. Jackie rushes over to apologize, but bristles at the rudeness of their new neighbour, concluding that Clementine is the type of person they need to avoid. In turn, Clementine doesn’t know what to make of this unconventional family, but doesn’t have much time to think about it because her husband suddenly leaves her, fed up after years of putting up with her negativity. Clementine plunges into a dark hole of shock and loneliness, but when Star runs away with the horse, she and Jackie’s family are forced to put aside their differences and help each other get through the dark days ahead of them.

The biggest thing The Language of Hoofbeats has going for it is solid, believable characters. The book alternates between Jackie and Clementine’s point of view, so readers spend the whole book in their heads becoming very familiar with their hopes and fears, biases and weaknesses. I found the self-deprecation by Jackie and Clementine funny and endearing, and grew to like both characters. I also thought the manner in which both characters work out their prejudices and try to be more mindful of their actions was very convincing.

The Language of Hoofbeats is a fairly straightforward story with no twists or surprises, so it’s not the most riveting read. However, since I liked the two main characters, I was invested in what happened to them.

Although it would be easy to call this book “heart-warming” and “feel good”, The Language of Hoofbeats simply can’t be dismissed as a sentimental family drama. Without weighing down on the reader, the story explores prejudice of various kinds, and what can happen when you drop preconceptions and allow people into your life instead of rejecting them. For what I consider a light read, the story has substance and well-developed main characters that make you believe even the most stubborn people can change.

3.5/5 Stars

The Language of Hoofbeats by Catherine Ryan Hyde is currently on tour with TLC Book Tours and I received a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.


5 comments on “The Language of Hoofbeats by Catherine Ryan Hyde

  1. Brian Joseph
    December 21, 2014

    Great review.

    I am tending to like character based stories, even if the plot is simple, more and more. In fact, sometimes when a plot has minimal twists and turns it brings out the attributes well crafted characters more.

    I absolutely agree that fell good books can have a lot of depth to them.


    • ebookclassics
      December 23, 2014

      The story in Hoofbeats was definitely driven by it’s well-developed characters and that’s what impressed me the most about the book.


  2. Naomi
    December 21, 2014

    Even though this story sounds to me like something that has been done before, it also sounds like one I might like. I don’t need riveting plots if there are riveting characters. Is it a good one for people who like horse books (like my mom), or is it mostly about the people? She would probably buy it based on the cover.


    • ebookclassics
      December 23, 2014

      I love your question about horses because I saw a lot of people on Goodreads comment that they read the book because of the cover! Unfortunately, it’s mostly about the characters and the horse is more in the background. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Heather J. @ TLC
    December 28, 2014

    I’m glad you enjoyed this one. Thanks for being a part of the tour!


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This entry was posted on December 21, 2014 by in Reviews and tagged , .

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