The Horse Healer

There is something so romantic about the horse–the way they move, their spirit, the bond we form with them. More than any other animal, the horse is interwoven into our stories and history. We needed them to work and to travel, but not only that they have been our partners and friends.


Such is the bond told in The Horse Healer. Diego and Sabba are almost soulmates and have a grand life adventure in Spain during the Crusade era of the late 1100s.

I found the subject matter of this book extremely interesting. It is historical fiction, and while the main character was made up–the events and royalty/nobility are based on real people. The story is also extremely culturally diverse. Toledo, which is where much of the plot takes place, is the “City of Three Cultures,” and there is a constant battle between the Christian and Muslims (Moors), especially, as that is the main focus of the book. There is some reference to the Jewish circle, but it is mainly pointed at business.

One thing I did find particularly intriguing is the group of Muslim soldiers called Imesebelen. They were extremists, as explained by one of the Moor characters, and the description he gave echoed so closely to our modern day description of ISIS. I just found it so interesting that even back in early history, Christians misunderstood the violence by those  extremists so badly that it caused a whole prejudice of a culture. And it is still going on today…when we have access to way more information.

I did find the book a little rocky as far as writing style. Sometimes it would be really great and fun and easy to read, other times I’d be really confused or bored. Great subject matter though, and something I’d like to research more.

One more note about this–It comes out April 14, and the original publication is in Spanish! The ARC I’m reading has been translated into English.


Fulfills PopSugar #44:  A book that was originally written in a different language

Disclaimer:  NetGalley provided this ARC in return for an unbiased review.

For Whom the Bell Tolls

Hemingway, you can just Obscenity OFF!! 12939379   And yes. He really does replace the F-bomb with the word Obscenity in For Whom the Bell Tolls. It’s about the most annoying thing ever. That, and the Thee and Thou and Thy. Am I reading the King James Version of the Bible?                             OK, so that’s it. That’s my whole review.                               What are you still doing here?               I’m serious guys. That’s it.                               Ugh. FIIIIIIIIIIIINE. This was a beast, and I really don’t know what I think about. It definitely doesn’t have the normal Hemingway voice that I am accustomed to. Plus it’s about 200 pages longer. The quick random romance is there, the kind Hemingway prefers–lots of love promises, but you know it’s going to end in sadness at some point. The war is there, but I know nothing about WWI in Spain, so maybe that’s why I had such a hard time connecting to this book. The gypsy circle was semi-interesting, but soooooooo confusing. And the language was just really hard to grasp on to.   I did want to share one section with you, towards the end of the book. This is one of the most brilliant descriptions of sex I have ever read. And he does it without ever naming a single body part. “Then they were together so that as the hand on the watch moved, unseen now, they knew that nothing could ever happen to the one that did not happen to the other, that no other thing could happen more than this; that this was all and always; this was what had been and now and whatever was to come. This, that they were not to have, they were having. They were having now and before and always and now and now and now. Oh, now, now, now, the only now, and above all now, and there is no other now but thou now and now is they prophet. Now and forever now. Come now, now, for there is no now but now. Yes, now. Now, please now, only now, not anything else only this now, and where are you and where am I and where is the other one, and not why, not ever why, only this now; and on and always wheeling now, soaring now, away now, all the way now, all of the way now; one and one is one, is one, is one, is one, is still one, is still one, is descendingly, is one softly, is one longingly, is one kindly, is one happily, is one in goodness, is one to cherish, is one now on earth with elbows against the cut and slept-on branches of the pine tree with the smell of the pine boughs and the night; to earth conclusively now, and with the morning of the day to come.” Ok, so I was wrong. He does throw an elbow in there. Heaven forbid. But I love that, because it’s so dead on, and yet nonpornographic, like so much of today’s sexual references. We don’t bat an eye at that today, but in his time it was probably hugely racy. I still want to tell him to Obscenity Off for the rest of the book, though.

The Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge, and the World’s Greatest Piece of Cheese

If I would have been born in an old world country, I think I would have been very happy. Not that I’m not happy now, but I can imagine myself there–in a middle of nowhere village, twisted trees, sheep, grass. Somebody’s grandmother cooking something with garlic, and homemade red wine being passed around at all times.

There’s always fresh bread and olives and cheese on the table in those fantasies. And it’s never anything prepackaged. It’s bought from the farmer down the road, homegrown and warm from the sun.


That’s what Michael Paterniti imagined when he first came across Paramo de Guzman in a little deli in college. That far off land. Something rich and homemade. Something you don’t find here in the US. It’s an exotic thought. Sure, we can mimic it, but it’s just not the same.

The Telling Room is a story of his journey to find that special cheese, and what went in to making it. There is a lot of love and pain behind the curds.

Man do I want to go to Spain now. I’ll probably never find the tiny village of Guzman, but Paterniti has convinced me to add this amazing food culture to my list, for sure! I absolutely have to seek out these little bodegas where the cheese and wine are stored. I’m always afraid, though, that if I went to a place like this, that I would stay forever. Think I can convince my husband?

Probably not…