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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Do You Hear What I Hear? by Teri Wilson

Do You Hear What I Hear? (Hoofbeats And Heartstrings Book One) by Teri Wilson
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday (Thanksgiving and Christmas), Paranormal
Length: Full (192 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4 Books
Review by Lilac

As a child, Simone Littleton adores the European folktale that animals are given the gift of speech at midnight on Christmas Eve. She makes a wish to talk to animals "forever and ever" and, when her pet Dalmatian asks her for a biscuit, she discovers her wish has been granted. Now Simone is all grown up and she uses her unique gift to rehabilitate unwanted horses. When racehorse trainer Chet Wallace rolls into San Antonio, with chocolate eyes and dimples blazing beneath his black Stetson, romantic sparks fly. He is immediately drawn to the beautiful woman who has a mesmerizing affect on both his horses and his dog, but his less than enthusiastic response to Simone's claims threatens their budding romance. It takes a scheming Jack Russell terrier and a dose of Christmas magic to convince Chet she just may be telling the truth.

Filled with a bit of magic and a tender romance, Do You Hear What I Hear? is a sweet story that will touch the heart.

In this touching story, Equine Massage Therapist and Aromatherapy Practicioner, Simone Littleton, has a hard time being taken seriously among those on the racing circuit and in the barns in which she works, especially since she can talk with animals, a gift she has had since making a wish one Christmas Eve as a child. When horse trainer, Chet Wallace hires her to care for his horses he is taken with the young woman, but her belief in her ability to communicate with animals threatens to make him the laughingstock of the racetrack and puts a crimp in their potential relationship.

I loved the whole concept of this story and Simone’s ability. I mean who hasn’t wished they could know what their animals were thinking? In this story Simone does. But throughout, I saw how her gift could be both a blessing and a curse. Because of her ability, Simone often learns of the hard and difficult lives some of the animals in the story have faced as most of them are rescue animals with pasts that are heartbreaking. And kudos to the author for using rescue animals in the story. By doing so it brings out awareness for the plight of some of the animals in real life.

But not only does Simone’s gift affect her own emotions, it also affects her relationships with others as she is frequently treated as an outcast, some of which is self-imposed as she is reluctant to share her gift. It also presents a big obstacle for her and Chet to overcome as he believes she needs mental help upon learning of it. I couldn’t really blame Chet for his reaction, but I didn’t care for his treatment of Simone when he confronts her. However, I loved how the two of them grow closer and work to overcome their differences as they discover their common interests. They were great characters who were perfect for one another and I was touched by their relationship and by Chet’s actions to help Simone feel like she belongs.

Speaking of great characters, one of my favorite characters in the story is of the four-legged variety. Pollock, Chet’s matchmaking Jack Russell Terrier, is a pooch with personality and I fell in love with the little fellow. The author did a wonderful job of giving him as well as the other animals in the story, mostly rescue horses, personalities and stories of their own even though we primarily hear from Pollock.

This was truly a sweet story and if you are an animal lover or even you just want a fun, yet touching contemporary romance, I recommend you check out this one.