Bibliophiliac is the space where one passionate, voracious reader reflects on books and the reading life. You will find reviews, analysis, links, and reflections on poetry and prose both in and out of the mainstream.
A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. Franz Kafka
Monday, July 18, 2016
Review: Remember My Beauties
paperback, 194 pages
A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher through TLC Book Tours
Lynne Hugo is a sensitive writer with a feel for character and the way real people can let themselves and others down. I had read and very much liked a previous novel of hers, A Matter of Mercy, so I was pretty sure I would like Remember My Beauties, and I wasn't wrong.
Remember My Beauties is a slim novel that most readers can probably finish in a couple of days, but the story is pretty hard to put down. It took me a little while to become fully immersed in this book, but once the story got going, I found myself caught up in the pain and sorrow of Jewel, one of those women who is trying to be everything to everyone. She is married for the second time, and her husband Eddie is specializing in getting on her nerves. She has a drug-addicted daughter she keeps trying to rescue, aging parents she is caring for, and a job on top of it all.
Jewel's parents are struggling: her father is blind, her mother, Louetta, needs constant care due to rheumatoid arthritis; not only that, but there are the horses to think of. Jewel's father, Hack, a former horse breeder and trainer, can't stand the thought of letting go of his "beauties"--the horses who require as much care as Hack and Louetta.
It's exhausting just thinking about it.
I think many readers will relate to the highly imperfect life that Jewel is living. She is an ordinary woman called on to do heroic tasks every day, and no one thanks her for it. When Hack and Louetta tell Jewel that her estranged brother, Cal, is coming for a visit, Jewel is ready to quit. What happens next is sometimes painful, sometimes funny, and always involving for the reader. Hugo creates gritty, realistic characters and shows the compassionate and surprisingly redemptive power of family love.
One thing that really stands out in this novel is the depiction of the interactions between humans and horses. Hugo brings to life the beauty of the relationship between people and horses. This slim novel is just the thing for readers who like stories that realistically show the pain and humor of family life.
Posted by bibliophiliac at 5:28 PM
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I so appreciate this thoughtful, articulate review of Remember My Beauties. I'm so glad that you liked it and love that you picked up the humor in a serious book. You're, of course, right that the positive effect of a human/animal relationship is an important theme. I'm always interested in exploring how people redeem themselves and how/what helps us heal. You and your readers might enjoy the two minute book trailer; it's on You Tube, as well as on my website on the novel's page. ( LynneHugo.com. There's one for A Matter of Mercy, too.) I always hope to hear if the pictures and music of the trailer match the ones you formed in your mind when you read the book. Thank you again, so much!
@Lynne Hugo-the passages about the horses were just so alive with feeling. That was one of the things I loved about your book. There is just something about your characters that is very intense and real. I'm very interest in the animal/human bond too--you really captured that in a special way.
Ah yes, that imperfection Jewel experiences is certainly familiar to me!
Thanks for being a part of the tour!
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