Blog Tour/Book Review: Remember My Beauties by Lynne Hugo

untitled(2)About Remember My Beauties

Paperback: 194 pages

Publisher: Switchgrass Books; 1 edition (April 18, 2016)

Imagine a hawk’s view of the magnificent bluegrass pastures of Kentucky horse country. Circle around the remnants of a breeding farm, four beautiful horses grazing just beyond the paddock. Inside the ramshackle house, a family is falling apart.

Hack, the patriarch breeder and trainer, is aged and blind, and his wife, Louetta, is confined by rheumatoid arthritis. Their daughter, Jewel, struggles to care for them and the horses while dealing with her own home and job—not to mention her lackluster second husband, Eddie, and Carley, her drug-addicted daughter. Many days, Jewel is only sure she loves the horses. But she holds it all together. Until her brother, Cal, shows up again. Jewel already has reason to hate Cal, and when he meets up with Carley, he throws the family into crisis—and gives Jewel reason to pick up a gun.

Every family has heartbreaks, failures, a black sheep or two. And some families end in tatters. But some stumble on the secret of survival: if the leader breaks down, others step up and step in. In this lyrical novel, when the inept, the addict, and the ex-con join to weave the family story back together, either the barn will burn to the ground or something bigger than any of them will emerge, shining with hope. Remember My Beauties grows large and wide as it reveals what may save us.

For more information on this and other Switchgrass titles, be sure to visit their website HERE.

“In vibrant prose, Lynne Hugo tells a gritty, psychologically astute story of three generations in turmoil and the power of nature to heal even the most troubled hearts. Her characters are brave, flawed, real—at times disturbingly so—but she never gives up on any of them, and by the end of this inspiring novel, I shared her empathetic vision. A spare, commanding novel by a master storyteller.”
—Patry Francis, author of The Orphans of Race Point

“A character in Remember My Beauties is fond of saying, ‘Lotsa ways to be blind,’ but this wonderful novel also shows us there are many ways to see—many ways to see love, for instance, or family or forgiveness. I’ll be remembering the beauty of this novel for a long time to come.”
—Katrina Kittle, author of The Blessings of the Animals

“Lynne Hugo’s writing is beautiful and evocative, earthy and strong. The characters, the setting, and the way she handles tough issues with honesty, grit, and understanding all make for a wonderful read.”
—Laura Harrington, author of Alice Bliss


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My Review

It is happening a lot these days – adult children caring for their aging parents. The tables have turned and where the parents were once the caregivers and providers, the adult children have assumed that role. To me, personally, caring for my father and getting him here and there and cooking for him was an honor. If I lived near my mother, I would gladly do the same thing. As it happens, my oldest brother and his wife take care of her.

But taking care of one’s elderly parents may not be necessarily peachy-keen in some situations. Take Jewel, for example, the protagonist in this book. She is splitting her life into pieces caring for her parents before and after work, trying to help her drug-addicted daughter, Carley, and maintain a so-so marriage. Her parents aren’t exactly grateful for all she does, her husband is really inept and worries about his own children from a first marriage, and her daughter would seriously try the patience of Job. Her salvation is the “beauties,” the four beautiful and unconditionally loving horses that are what’s left of the father’s horse breeding farm. Sometimes she feels the horses are the only creatures she loves. They keep her sane.

Then everything implodes when her irresponsible brother Cal returns home to live with their parents. Jewel hates him while Mama welcomes him with open arms. Mama has always like Cal, the bum, the best. He tried to ruin Jewel’s life once and she won’t allow it to happen again. Jewel decides that if Mama likes him better, they can have each other. She will not stay as the parents’ caretaker. But she can’t leave the beauties (horses). Periodically she slips into the barn unnoticed to be with the horses. Yet one day, she finds that Cal and her daughter are in the barn and up to no good. That is when she decides to use a gun.

This is sad tale of a family that falls apart. There is no “fun” in dysfunctional in this family. Mature themes criss cross the story, ie. substance abuse, divorce, incest, and Jewel struggles to manage it all. Why did her brother have to come and mess things up? Why would her mother choose a loser son over Jewel? Why can’t her husband “man-up” and see she needs help in all this? Why can’t Carley get her act together? To find out, you will need to read the book. Surprises await the reader.

Thank you again to TLC Books for allowing me to read this book. This is another author I hadn’t heard of who can weave an intense story. Happy Reading!


About Lynne Hugo untitled(3)

Lynne Hugo has published ten previous books, including poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Her memoir, Where the Trail Grows Faint, won the River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Book Prize in 2004, and her sixth novel, A Matter of Mercy, was awarded an Independent Publisher silver medal for best regional fiction in 2014. The recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, she lives in Ohio with her husband and their yellow Labrador retriever.

Connect with Lynne

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Lynne Hugo’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Wednesday, June 22nd: Bibliotica

Monday, June 27th: BookNAround

Wednesday, June 29th: Travelling Birdy

Thursday, July 7th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

Wednesday, July 13th: Reading Cove Book Club

Monday, July 18th: Bibliophiliac

Wednesday, July 20th: Back Porchervations

Monday, July 25th: Patricia’s Wisdom

Monday, August 1st: Mama Vicky Says

TBD: Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books

TBD: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews


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