IF WISHES WERE HORSES – Robert Barclay
William Morrow (Hardcover)
ISBN: 978-0-06-196688-0
February 2011
Contemporary Fiction

Boca Raton, Florida and the Flying B Ranch

Five years ago, on his thirty-fifth birthday, Wyatt Blaine lost his beloved wife Krista and his son Danny in a crash caused by a drunken driver. Life has lost all meaning since. He has moved back to the family horse ranch and given up working at the law firm founded by his father. His brother Morgan is the one enthusiastic about the law anyway. In an effort to do something worthwhile with himself, Wyatt plans to revive his wife's equine therapy program for troubled teens at no charge to the families. He hopes to recruit young people to the program through the school and his church.

The Reverend James Jacobson of St. Andrews Episcopal Church is a wise man, if a bit conniving. He surprises Wyatt—bushwhacks him, really—by arranging a meeting between him and Gabby Powers, whose angry son is in danger of being expelled from school for fighting. Now, Gabby is a widow supporting herself and son Trevor by teaching at the local high school. She's ready to do anything to get help for Trevor. So, what is so extraordinary about this situation? Not only is Trevor the son of the man responsible for the deaths of Wyatt's wife and son, but Trevor refuses to believe his father was at fault. He blames Krista Blaine and hates her whole family for killing his dad!

Wyatt puts bitterness aside and accepts Trevor into the program. If it's partly because of his admiration of Gabby, that's beside the point….

The good Reverend is not the only conniving old man. Ramsey, the senior Blaine , is also impressed with Gabby and takes Trevor under his wing by introducing him to his favorite mare, soon to drop a foal. Ram, as he's fondly called by all, desperately wants to see Wyatt happy before Alzheimer's takes its final toll.

IF WISHES WERE HORSES is chock full of wonderful characters. There are, besides the finely drawn Blaines and Powerses, Big John and Aunt Lou, the ranch foreman and housekeeper, who are more family than employees; various other ranch hands, Gabby's best friend, and more. The novel is a moving one, at turns poignant, sad, dramatic, amusing, and hopeful.

Jane Bowers