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If Wishes Were Horses: A Novel Hardcover – February 15, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1st Printing edition (February 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061966886
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061966880
  • Product Dimensions: 1.6 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,103,352 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Barclay takes the Nicholas Sparks formula out for a limping spin in his melodramatic debut weepy. Wyatt Blaine's happy world crumbles on his 35th birthday when his wife and his son are killed by a drunk driver. Five years later, Wyatt still hasn't recovered from their deaths, and Trevor MacPherson--the 14-year-old son of the man who killed Wyatt's family--is having problems at school and is offered one last chance: participate in the New Beginnings horse therapy program on the Blaine ranch. Blaine is shocked and furious when he finds out who Trevor is, but he allows him into the program. A bigger surprise comes in the form of Trevor's mother, Gabby, who is the most attractive and interesting woman Blaine has met since his wife's death. Barclay clearly knows a great deal about horsemanship, though the contrived romance angle is tough to get past, especially considering how central it is. Wyatt's irascible father provides some relief, but the clunky writing and maudlin aesthetic make this a nonstarter. (Feb.) (c)
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Review

“I loved it. A great read myself and staff enjoyed very much, with wonderful characters and writing.” (Earlene Scott, Scotts Bookstore Newnan, GA)

[If Wishes Were Horses] will satisfy fans of sweet romances and tender family sagas… Mr. Barclay weaves a quiet tale about people with hearts of gold, each barely coping with inner demons or tragic circumstances, who learn that they need one another in order to find redemption. (NY Journal of Books)

“IF WISHES WERE HORSES is chock full of wonderful characters. The novel is a moving one, at turns poignant, sad, dramatic, amusing, and hopeful.” (Romance Reviews Today)

“A powerful story...You’ll rejoice in the triumphs experienced at a horse-therapy program for troubled teens and observe how results can best be achieved through actions.” (PBG Lifestyle Magazine)

More About the Author

After graduating from Colgate University with a B.A. in Economics and a minor Art History, Robert J. Barclay enjoyed a successful career in business, and served as chairman of his industry-related consulting group. After selling his business and moving from upstate New York to Florida (and with some rather successful prodding by his wife), he was able to finally devote his full attention to something he had always wanted to do: write a book. Rob lives in sunny south Florida. When he isn't writing, he enjoys weightlifting, Shotokan Karate, and going to the beach to do absolutely nothing.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By poltroon on November 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Wyatt Blaine is a rich lawyer-cowboy with a to-die-for body, an enormous horse ranch near Boca Raton, a fabulous personality, and endless finances. And, he's single. But bad news, he's still mourning the tragic death of his wife and son - on his birthday no less, sent out on a meaningless errand - in an automobile accident involving a drunk driver - 5 years ago.

But - amazingly - Gabrielle, the widow of that drunk driver, is also still single, gorgeous, poor but noble, and she has a troubled son who her priest - fully knowing the history - suggests for the horse therapy program run by Wyatt Blaine at his ranch.

Oddly, during the first conversation with the priest ( who seems a good guy, and a nice minor character), it seems the author is trying to keep us in suspense about the shared history between Gabrielle and Wyatt. The connection was obvious to me, but the longer the scene went, the more I wondered if the author was pretending the characters didn't know. It was just strange.

I wanted to like this novel. And I hoped it would be about horses, but it's not, really. There are horses on the ranch, prized horses, but the author doesn't quite have the details right in places. I was surprised to feel it read more like a romance type novel, though there is no explicit activity.

The conflicts don't always ring true. Gabby is not sure she can ever forgive Wyatt when she falls off one of his horses. The huge family secret of the Blaine family seems medically improbable. There is a rain of tragedy at the end that took the novel from fluffy romance with knight and shining armor to a lead weight. And still, the author teases by not quite describing what happened to who for many pages, for no good reason. We know we're mourning, but we have to wait for the next chapter set months later to find out for what.

It's not really bad, and I didn't hate it. But, it didn't quite find its genre.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Gail Rodgers VINE VOICE on January 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This was a very nice gentle story to read when you need to relax. You know from the very beginning the outcome of the book so you aren't waiting with baited breath for the ending. If you have had a long exhausting day and want to read something that helps calm you down enough for a goods night's sleep, then this is a book for you. It is well written, but entirely predictable, but sometimes you need that! For the type of book it is, it is great. Not great literature, but a great book in it's own class.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dana A. Billig on June 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is an ok book. I liken it to a chick flick, a Lifetime or Oxygen movie. The same story has been portrayed one hundred times. It's predictable and only worth a paperback not a hard copy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By JJ Stark VINE VOICE on January 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I will admit (despite the many neg comments here alone!), that I am a HUGE fan of Nicholas Sparks (skim thru my many reviews, and I'm sure you can figure that out!), so when I read that this book was written "in the spirit of Nicholas Sparks" I jumped right on it. While I will admit, the storyline and plot ARE similar to the types of stories that Sparks writes, the similarities end there. I almost felt like the author was TRYING (a little too hard) to write like Sparks, either that, or he was trying to reproduce THE HORSE WHISPERER, because that's what this book felt like far more than a Sparks novel.

I think the author is talented and I think he COULD write a good story for this genre, but rather than emulate the styles of Sparks and Evans, I think he needs to find his own voice. Figure out what his strongest points are and what makes him original. We already have far too many authors trying to duplicate what Sparks has done. I would much rather read a good story, with strong characters and come away from a book wanting more, than read a "copy-kat."

As for this book, I felt no attachment to the characters, the storyline was predictable, there was far too much "filler", and I never felt the NEED to continue reading. It was easy to put the book down every night (sometimes I wondered if I'd ever finish it!), and I even started other books in between, coming back to this one every once in a while (something I NEVER do with a Sparks novel -- I sit down and read that entire book cover to cover rather quickly!) I wouldn't say I've given up on this author just yet - there IS something there - but I think I'll be checking out his next title a little more cautiously.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Kaye Oldner on December 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Five years ago, Wyatt Blaine lost his wife and son in a collision with a drunken driver. As a way to keep her memory alive and to heal, he decides to reinstate the New Beginnings Program. This was his late wife's project, an equine therapy program for troubled teens held at the Blaine's family ranch.

At the same time, Trevor, the son of the drunken driver, is having trouble at school. He's about to be expelled when his mother, Gabrielle Powers, tells the principal that Trevor has been accepted into the New Beginnings Program. Needless to say, the boy isn't happy.

Wyatt is unsure about his decision to let Trevor join, but soon warms to the boy as well as his mother. The change that comes about in all three begins the healing process they desperately deserve.

At first, I thought this was a Christian fiction, because one of the characters, a preacher, James Jacobson. He's the one who helped change Wyatt's mind about allowing the boy to attend the program. When Wyatt's first reaction was to use a curse word with "God," I knew that couldn't be the case.

The beginning started out interesting, but turned a bit too syrupy. I felt the dialogue was off. True enough, Trevor, trying to imitate James Dean, used phrases like "clocked him," but the other characters used close to the same phrases, like "gotten your lights punched out." If the setting had been in the 1950's era, then it would have worked better than in current day setting.

In addition, the pivotal points, after the built up to the climax, needed to be stronger, at least for my taste. I felt letdown when I found out what the fuss was about.

So was the story bad? For me, it wasn't. Even with my complaints, I wanted to read this one to the end and now that I have, there are no regrets.
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