Release date: 2012 / 272 pages
Synopsis (from Amazon.com): Nancy Shulins had a great career, a loving husband, and was looking forward to having a family. Cheering as her friends got pregnant and dutifully bringing gaily wrapped gifts to every baby shower, she suffered bout after bout of unsuccessful infertility treatment. Devastated, she slowly heals through the most unexpected route: the love of a good (if cranky) horse named Eli… Falling for Eli is about learning to break a sweat rather than break down, to try your best even if you’ll never be the best; it’s about learning to stand on your own six feet.
Review: Nancy Shulins begins her memoir, Falling for Eli, with the devastating realization that she will never become a mother. Surrounded by fertile neighbors and a baby stroller on every corner, Shulins struggles to leave her house and is in danger of succumbing to depression. Fortunately, soon an off-the-track Thoroughbred enters her life and a new dream begins.
As a former Associated Press writer who earned two Pulitzer nominations and a Clarion award, Shuling’s prose is a pleasure to read. She vividly depicts the dedication and passion required to love a horse long-term as well as the limitless rewards in doing so. Shulins explores many facets of horse ownership – from the fear many riders experience atop a 1200 pound prey animal to the inherent fragility of these massive, majestic creatures. Initially hoping to master the art of dressage riding, Shulings endures a number of strict, relentless trainers and must face her own fears and insecurities in order to find a trainer who is as compassionate as she is talented.
As Shuling shares her triumphs and challenges with Eli – her lovable but injury-prone gelding – and nurses him back from a series of ailments, including lameness, hives, Equine Protozoa Myeloencephalitis and a fractured shoulder, her heart is healed as well. The last line of her Acknowledgments exemplifies the extent to which Shuling is able to embrace her new reality: “…I wish to express my admiration for the countless women who have cobbled together their families from hooves and hearts, feathers, and fur. You are all mothers in my book.”
Thank you to Shelf Awareness for asking me to read and review this!