Her name is Jewel but she isn’t precious. Well, she doesn’t feel precious. Her husband, Eddie, is more interested in his kids – her stepchildren – than her. If anything, he’s more mad that she’s cut off her hair than he is about why she’s done it. And Eddie is her second husband; he’s supposed to be the one who adores her. Where did that dream go wrong?
Along with everything else she does, Jewel gets paid to look after her disabled parents. She’s become a certified caregiver and the government actually pays her to take care of them because her father is blind and her mom is lame and between the two of them, they can’t see how much they need her, even when they choose her wayward brother over her time and again.
So Jewel quits. Even though she needs the money, she’s willing to give up the money to satisfy her pride. She quits taking care of her parents. She quits her relationships. She cuts off all ties and goes to a place where she doesn’t have to think about anything except herself and her addict-daughter. But she can’t stop thinking about the horses on her parents’ land…the ‘beauties’.
Jewel can stop thinking about the horses her father love more than anything; it’s the same love she has for the animals. Could that love be hereditary? Could she have passed it on to her own child? She can’t stop herself going back to visit the horses. Could the horses be the glue that holds this family together?
Remember My Beauties is a complicated tale of the kind of family that personifies the word ‘dysfunctional’. Elderly sick parents who act like they don’t know the value of the one child who takes care of them. A prodigal brother inclined to incestous relationships. Three or more family members who are drug addicts. Everyone is lying about something. Everyone has issues. Even the ones who seem like they’re the normal ones, teeter on the brink of one disaster or another.
In Remember My Beauties, award-winning author Lynne Hugo has set up a gripping tale filled with characters you’ll love to hate and root for them to turn their lives around. The story is told from multiple perspectives so every character gets a chance to show his/her real self. Even the horses.
The imagery is rich – at times, maybe too rich – the plot is sufficiently complex, the language is expressive but the real merit of the book is how the plot and subplots are overlaid to teach some life lessons. As the blind patriarch, Hank, says towards the end of the novel, Lotsa ways to be blind but a blind horse don’t have to step in every hole.
Remember My Beauties is a short novel – just 164 pages of storytelling – but just the right length to finish over a long weekend or a couple of lazy, summer afternoons.
Click here to see more of Lynne Hugo’s novels.
I received a free copy of Remember My Beauties from TLC Book Tours in order to complete this review and participate in a virtual book tour (more book tour stops listed below)
5/16: Dreams, Etc.
5/18: A Bookish Way of Life
5/19: Worth Getting in Bed For
5/20: Just Commonly
5/23: Reading Cove Book Club
5/24: Thoughts on This ‘n That
5/26: Mom in Love with Fiction
5/31: Run Wright
6/1: 100 Pages a Day
6/6: Book Dilettante
6/10: Write Read Life