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.
Rita Mae Brown - The Hounds and the Fury
In bestseller Brown's diverting fifth foxhunting mystery (after 2005's The Hunt Ball), "Sister" Jane Arnold, the 73-year-old master of foxhounds at central Virginia's Jefferson Hunt Club, and a host of anthropomorphized dogs, horses, foxes and birds have their work cut out for them. As Sister prepares for the winter hunt, arrogant arriviste Crawford Howard acquires an "outlaw" pack of hounds and proceeds to set up a rival event on land long used by the Jefferson Hunt, a plan that threatens to tear the community apart. "People are like teabags. You never know how strong they are until you put them in hot water," notes Sister, who with her usual panache sorts out a murder, an attempted murder, an insurance scam and a huge sum of money gone missing from a local company. Cozy fans and animal lovers will be charmed, but the general reader may lose patience with the talking critters.
Angela Dorsey - A Horse Called Freedom
Jani moves out of the city with her parents and her horse Keeta, leaving behind her best friend. When she goes to clean out the old barn on the property, she sees a huge boulder in the shadows. Then black shapes swell out of the darkness, and she hears terrible screams. JaniÂs new friend Penny says the barn is haunted. Perhaps a former owner will reveal what happened so long ago, and tell them if the stories are true. Caught up in the mystery, Jani is determined to help the ghost find peace at last.
Elizabeth Bear - Shattered Pillars
The Shattered Pillars is the second book of Bear’s The Eternal Sky trilogy and the sequel to Range of Ghosts. Set in a world drawn from our own great Asian Steppes, this saga of magic, politics and war sets Re-Temur, the exiled heir to the great Khagan and his friend Sarmarkar, a Wizard of Tsarepheth, against dark forces determined to conquer all the great Empires along the Celedon Road.
Kristen Britain - Green Rider
On her long journey home from school after a fight which will surely lead to her expulsion, Karigan G'ladheon ponders her future as she trudges through the immense forest called Green Cloak. But her thoughts are interrupted by the clattering of hooves as a galloping horse bursts from the woods, the rider slumped over his mount's neck, impaled by two black-shafted arrows. As the young man lies dying on the road, he tells Karigan that he is a Green Rider, one of the legendary messengers of the king, and that he bears a "life and death" message for King Zachary. He begs Karigan to carry his message, warning her not to read it, and when she reluctantly agrees, he makes her swear on his sword to complete his mission "for love of country." As he bestows upon her the golden winged-horse brooch which is the symbol of his office, he whispers on his dying breath, "Beware the shadow man..." Karigan's promise changes her life forever. Pursued by unknown assassins, following a path only her horse seems to know, and accompanied by the silent specter of the original messenger, she herself becomes a legendary Green Rider. Caught up in a world of deadly danger and complex magic, compelled by forces she cannot understand, Karigan is hounded by dark beings bent on seeing that the message, and its reluctant carrier, never reach their destination.
William Nack - Secretariat
The remarkable true story of "Big Red", one of America's finest racehorses. When her beloved Meadow Stables is faced with closure following her father's illness, housewife and mother Penny Chenery agrees to take over. Despite her lack of horse-racing knowledge she calls in assistance from trainer Lucien Laurin and a host of successful jockeys. Pitted against the Phipps' racing dynasty, Penny takes the decision to breed her mare Somethingroyal to the Phipps' Bold Ruler, the nation's favourite stallion. With the toss of a coin it is agreed that one family will take Somethingroyal's first foal with the losing stable taking the colt out of Hasty Matelda and Somethingroyal's second foal. Penny loses the toss, but the wait for the unborn foal proves fortuitous when a bright red chestnut colt is born, Secretariat. Nicknamed "Big Red," with Laurin's guidance, Penny manages to navigate the male-dominated business of horse racing, ultimately fostering the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years and what may be the greatest racehorse of all time. Now, more than 30 years after its initial publication, the story of "Big Red" continues to be a classic. Secretariat is the tale of a great racehorse but also a testimony to the dedication of Penny Chenery. Following her triumph with Secretariat she was elected as the first female member of The Jockey Club, changing the face of American horse racing forever.
Annie Wedekind - Little Prince
Phin, a Shetland pony, has loved leaving the carnival to become a show pony in the big city, but when his mistress-owner Isabella loses interest in him, he is sent to a farm for unwanted animals and must find a way to make a home there.
C. S. Lewis - The Horse and His Boy
On a desperate journey, two runaways meet and join forces. Though they are only looking to escape their harsh and narrow lives, they soon find themselves at the center of a terrible battle. It is a battle that will decide their fate and the fate of Narnia itself.
Rita Mae Brown - Outfoxed
Rita Mae Brown fervently believes that felines are a lot smarter than most people, and in her popular Mrs. Murphy mysteries, the cats are always leaps and bounds ahead of their human companions. (They also speak in italics, which makes it easy to distinguish them from their somewhat bumbling owner/companions.) In Outfoxed the foxes, hounds, and a few clever birds solve a murder that's hardly more than a raison d'être for Brown's thorough and detailed description of the highly ritualized world of the Jefferson Hunt. Fox hunting is more than just an entertaining way to spend a fall afternoon in Virginia--it's a way of life for everyone involved, from Sister Jane, the Master of the Fox Hunt, to Crawford Howard and Fontaine Buruss, two men who'd kill for the chance to succeed her. By the time a death actually occurs, Brown is three-fourths of the way to the last page, but it doesn't really matter; by this point, the reader is wholly involved in the arcane world of casts, whippers, scent stations, ratshots, and the social rules of the canid and canine communities. And while a man has been murdered, it's the slaughter of the fox used to lure him to his death that really upsets Sister, the strong-willed matriarch who is the novel's protagonist. The thrill of the chase--the hunt itself, not the search for the killer--is on every page of this masterful foray into a fascinating world. And as usual in a Rita Mae Brown novel, the animals have the best lines as well as the last word.
Rita Mae Brown - Hounded to Death
At the start of bestseller Brown's discursive seventh crime novel starring master of fox hounds Sister Jane Arnold (after The Tell-Tale Horse), Sister is busy showing her hounds in the hunting off-season. Then calamity strikes. At the Mid-America Hound Show in Kentucky, an unpopular master is shot dead with rat shot (aka bird shot). Back home in Virginia, a member of Sister's Jefferson Hunt Club disappears. When a veterinarian, despondent over her divorce, apparently commits suicide, Sister decides she can no longer leave matters to the police. As usual, a wealth of fox-hunting lore lends interest, but too many incidentals—a conversation about a saint, the furnishings of Sister's house, a prep school commencement—neither further the plot nor illuminate character. Still, series fans should enjoy catching up with old friends among the Virginia fox-hunting gentry.
Rita Mae Brown - The Tell-Tale Horse
Enlivened by a large cast of familiar two- and four-legged characters, Sister Jane Arnold's sixth adventure in Virginia hunt country (after 2006's The Hounds and the Fury) opens with the discovery of a nude female corpse tied to an equine shop fixture. The Jefferson Hunt community is appropriately distressed, but master of foxhounds Sister really gets outraged when a valuable trophy goes missing and then turns up in her stable. Suspects abound among the well-heeled and well-mounted but rather undeveloped members of the hunt. Brown's well-researched descriptions of hunting will please aficionados who don't mind her talking-animal conceit, but otherwise the prose is undistinguished; the useful terms section at the back is almost superfluous, though the exhaustive dramatis personae in the front is not. The tale is mostly carried by its unusual setting and a rather cozy plot featuring high-tech and financial wizardry.
Rita Mae Brown - Hotspur
Tally-ho! From bestseller Brown (Outfoxed and many other delicious books) comes a dashing and vibrant novel that revolves around foxhunting. The rolling hills of central Virginia are home to the Jefferson Hunt-and to scores of sly foxes, red, black and gray. When 34-year-old Peppermint dies peacefully of natural causes, the grave dug for the beloved horse uncovers the skeleton of Nola Bancroft, identifiable by her ring, the Hapsburg sapphire. The ravishing Nola disappeared without a trace from Sorrel Burrus's party 21 years earlier, leaving behind a shocked and, eventually, mourning father and mother, Edward and Tedi, and a sister, Sibyl. Many members of the hunt thought she'd eloped with handsome (but socially inferior) Guy Ramy, the sheriff's son, who went missing at the same time. Seventy-one-year-old Master of the Hunt Jane "Sister" Arnold soon finds herself searching for human prey as well as foxes. The author portrays the hunt family with such warmth and luxury of detail, one feels a friendship with each and every character, animals included. The reader will romp through the book like a hunter on a thoroughbred, never stopping for a meal or a night's sleep. A glossary of useful terms will aid those who've never ridden to the hounds.
Rita Mae Brown - Full Cry
In the third novel of her captivating foxhunting series, Rita Mae Brown welcomes readers back for a final tour of a world where most business is conducted on horseback–and stables are de rigueur for even the smallest of estates. Here, in the wealth-studded hills of Jefferson County, Virginia, even evil rides a mount. The all-important New Year’s Hunt commences amid swirling light snow. It is the last formal hunt of the season; therefore, participation is required no matter how hungover riders are from toasting the midnight before. On this momentous occasion, “Sister” Jane Arnold, master of the foxhounds, announces her new joint master and the new president of the Jefferson Hunt. And her choices will prove to be no less than shocking. The day’s festivities are quickly marred, though, by what appears on the surface to be an unrelated tragedy. Sam Lorillard, former shining star and Harvard Law School alum, lies dead of a stab wound on a baggage cart at the old train station, surrounded by the outcasts and vagabonds who composed his social circle at the end of life. No one can remember when Sam started drinking, but the downward spiral was swift–and seemingly deadly. Murder is followed by scandal when Sister Jane discovers dishonest hunting practices going on in a neighboring club. Unsure whether to turn a blind eye or report the infringement to the proper authority, Sister and her huntsman, Shaker Crown, decide to investigate a little further, with the help of their trusty hounds. But when they come a little too close to the staggering truth–and uncover an unforeseen connection to Lorillard’s murder–they realize they might not survive to see the next New Year’s Hunt. Intricate, witty, and full of the varied voices of creatures both great and small, Full Cry is an astute reminder that even those with the bluest of blood still bleed red.
Cormac McCarthy - The Crossing
The opening section of The Crossing, book two of the Border Trilogy, features perhaps the most perfectly realized storytelling of Cormac McCarthy's celebrated career. Like All the Pretty Horses, this volume opens with a teenager's decision to slip away from his family's ranch into Mexico. In this case, the boy is Billy Parham, and the catalyst for his trip is a wolf he and his father have trapped, but that Billy finds himself unwilling to shoot. His plan is to set the animal loose down south instead. This is a McCarthy novel, not Old Yeller, and so Billy's trek inevitably becomes more ominous than sweet. It boasts some chilling meditations on the simple ferocity McCarthy sees as necessary for all creatures who aim to continue living. But Billy is McCarthy's most loving--and therefore damageable--character, and his story has its own haunted melancholy. Billy eventually returns to his ranch. Then, finding himself and his world changed, he returns to Mexico with his younger brother, and the book begins meandering. Though full of hypnotically barren landscapes and McCarthy's trademark western-gothic imagery (like the soldier who sucks eyes from sockets), these latter stages become tedious at times, thanks partly to the female characters, who exist solely as ghosts to haunt the men. But that opening is glorious, and the whole book finally transcends its shortcomings to achieve a grim and poignant grandeur. --Glen Hirshberg
Heather Clay - Losing Charlotte
Raised on their family's Thoroughbred farm in Kentucky, Charlotte and Knox Bolling grow up steeped in the life cycles of the horses surrounding them. Despite their opposing natures, the connection between these two sisters is unbreakable, even when Charlotte abandons Four Corners Farm in favor of Manhattan. But a single day changes everything for Knox, and in order to confront the ways her sister defines her, she must leave the home she’s always known. A powerful story of love, duty and family, Losing Charlotte reminds us that there are some bonds that cannot be broken.
Nicholas Evans - The Horse Whisperer (Penguin Readers)
One winter's morning in New York State, there is an accident on an icy mountain road. Thirteen-year-old Grace and her much-loved horse, Pilgrim, are very badly hurt. Grace's mother beleives her daughter will only recover if her horse can be saved. Can Pilgrim be nursed back to health? Contemporary / British English Level (3) Pre-Intermediate
Anna Sewell - Black Beauty
One of the best loved animal stories ever written, the dramatic and heartwarming Black Beauty is told by the magnificent horse himself, from his idyllic days on a country squire's estate to his harsh fate as a London cab horse. No one can ever forget the gallant Black Beauty, a horse with a white star on his forehead and a heart of unyielding courage.
Kristen Britain - First Rider's Call
In this long-awaited sequel to Green Rider, Karigan G'ladheon finds herself in a world of deadly danger and complex magic. Compelled by forces she cannot understand, she becomes one of the legendary Green Riders-magic messengers to the king. Pursued by the ghost of the First Rider, Karigan will re-enter the life of the Green Riders-just as an ancient evil is reawakening...
Nicholas Evans - The Horse Whisperer
In the still of a snow-covered morning in upstate New York, a girl out riding her horse is hit by a 40-ton truck. Though horribly injured, both thirteen-year-old Grace Maclean and her horse Pilgrim survive. But the impact on their lives and the lives of those who love them is devastating. Grace is the only child of a prominent New York magazine editor, Annie Graves, and her lawyer husband Robert. In a way which none of them at first understands, their destiny comes to depend upon Pilgrim's. So mutilated and traumatized is he that even the vet who saved his life now wishes he hadn't. Annie refuses to have him destroyed, sensing that if she does, something in Grace will die too. She hears about a man in Montana, a 'whisperer' who is said to have the gift of healing troubled horses. Abandoning her job, Annie sets off across the continent with Grace and Pilgrim to find him. The man's name is Tom Booker and he lives on the Rocky Mountain Front, a place of daunting beauty. Here, under the massive Montana sky, all their lives are changed forever.
Dean Hughes - As Long As I Have You
“Bea, I'm excited about the way things are falling together for our family,” President Thomas said to his wife. “It sounds like Wally wants to be part of us now. And Alex already got his feet wet at the plant before he left. Once those boys are working for us, I don't see why we couldn't go after a lot more contracts. I've already talked to. . .” “Al, slow down just a minute. Alex never did like working in that business. And there's nothing that says he's changed his mind.” “Oh, I think he will. He's got a family to raise now, and he'll never find a better opportunity than I'll offer him.” “Be careful, Al. Okay?” “Careful? What do you mean?" “You always tell me that you've learned your lesson, but then you jump right back in. You can't run these kids' lives for them.” The war is over, and the Thomas family is slowly coming back together at home in Salt Lake City. But that doesn't mean all is well in Zion. Alex seems to be doing fine, but more and more often he wakes up with nightmares from the war. In addition, what he thought would be an idyllic life with Anna and their son, Gene, brings a variety of new challenges. Bobbi is in love with Richard, but she still struggles to know if she should marry him — especially since he can't seem to deal with a harrowing experience he had at sea. Wally, getting stronger every day after his experience in a Japanese POW camp, finds that adjusting to civilian life isn't as easy as he had thought. And Lorraine, the girl of his dreams, is engaged to someone else. LaRue, more mature and not so boy-crazy, wants to go to school back east, but her parents aren't happy about the decision. Beverly is thrilled that her family is coming home, but she doesn't always understand how they think or the decisions they make. She's also having to confront another challenge — boys. And finally, Alexander and Bea have their own problems to overcome. President Thomas is ready to fulfill his dream of a vast business enterprise run by his children. But, as Sister Thomas tries to make him see, the children may have different plans. In As Long As I Have You, the final volume of the Children of the Promise series, author Dean Hughes presents a moving picture of what life was like for an ordinary LDS family at the end of World War II.
Khaled Hosseini - The Kite Runner
Twelve-year-old Amir is desperate to win the approval of his father and resolves to win the local kite-fighting tournament, to prove that he has the makings of a man. His loyal friend Hassan promises to help him - for he always helps Amir - but this is 1970s Afghanistan and Hassan is merely a low-caste servant who is jeered at in the street, although Amir still feels jealous of his natural courage and the place he holds in his father's heart. But neither of the boys could foresee what would happen to Hassan on the afternoon of the tournament, which was to shatter their lives. After the Russians invade and the family is forced to flee to America, Amir realises that one day he must return, to find the one thing that his new world cannot grant him: redemption.