Chosen by a Horse – Susan Richards (Memoir)

Chosen by a Horse

Chosen by a Horse

Susan Richards (Memoir)

She was only five years old when she was given her first horse.  Her grandmother had given it to her and its name was Bunty.  From that moment on, Susan Richards’s love for horses would be equaled only by her love for books and writing.  Horses, like books, were Susan’s escape from a world filled with abuse, betrayal, and loss.  For the first time in her memory, her life now was happy on her farm with her three horses.  But on a cold March day, Susan received an urgent call from the SPCA asking for emergency foster homes for a number of abused race horses.  Susan didn’t hesitate to heed the call.  When she arrived, how could she ever have known that a gentle and lame horse named Lay Me Down would not only choose Susan to be her rescuer, but would ultimately be the one that would rescue Susan.

Chosen by a Horse is an emotional and loving memoir about two broken and neglected souls who miraculously found each other.  Susan describes Lay Me Down’s ability to trust and love again to be far easier than her own by writing, “Unlike me, Lay Me Down seemed to feel no rancor.  In spite of everything, she was open and trusting of people, qualities I decidedly lacked…What exactly was it that enabled an abused animal, for lack of a better word, to love again?”  Susan’s struggle to commit and trust was clearly detailed throughout the book.  Through all of her emotional battles, she couldn’t have asked for nor gotten a better mentor than Lay Me Down.  Her quiet faith and hope would inspire Susan to take another chance and to trust in another…even if it meant getting hurt all over again.

You don’t have to be a horse-lover to appreciate this book and its message of second chances, survival, and healing.  Anyone who has ever opened their home and heart to an animal will be touched, moved, and inspired by this heartbreakingly beautiful and compassionate story.  “In the steady gaze of the horse shines a silent eloquence that speaks of love and loyalty, strength and courage.  It is the window that reveals to us how willing is his spirit, how generous is his heart.”—Author Unknown.  Susan Richards heard the silent words spoken by a broken horse and it was those words that helped heal her broken heart.  How blessed was she to be chosen by a horse.

Rating: 5/5

*Book cover image attributed to



Breathing Water by T. Greenwood

Breathing Water

Breathing Water

T. Greenwood (Adult Fiction)

“Do not ask me for haunted.  Do not ever ask me for haunted, because I will give you haunted and you will never be the same.”

Effie Greer is living a fugitive life.  When you are a fugitive, you don’t sign leases, you don’t bother unpacking, and you don’t make any friends.  But after three years, she finally feels safe enough to return home to Lake Gormlaith, Vermont.  There, she refurbishes her grandmother’s lake house, reconnects with an old school friend, and develops an interest in a mysterious and kind artist.  Only time will tell if Effie can truly leave the past behind and begin anew.

Breathing Water jumps from the years 1991, 1994, and 1987 and deals with issues such as domestic violence and substance abuse.  Despite its strong and promising beginning, the story just seems to aimlessly float along with no real purpose or direction.  At times, the text seems overly flowery (“The rust-gold-orange-purple of the woods behind him blurred through the spray of the hose…”) and the transitions between time periods are awkward and require the reader a few moments to continually readjust.  Also, I found the main character to be a bit contradictory.  As a survivor of abuse, she is prone to keeping secrets although she eventually finds great relief and peace once she finally divulges her abusive past to friends and family.  Despite this, she finds it absolutely reasonable to keep secrets from her new love interest.  So, we are led to assume that some secrets are acceptable and absolution is purely discretionary.

All in all, not the worst novel I’ve ever read, but it was lacking on several fronts:  the characters were somewhat flat, the plot was thin, and finally reaching the end of the book was akin to treading water—there’s just not that much to hold onto.

Rating: 3/5

* Book cover image attributed to