by Ruth Langan

March 2005
ISBN: 0-425-20151-1
Reviewer Graphic Button Berkley
Mass Market Paperback

Recently widowed Amanda Jeffrey has done everything she can to keep the dream she shared with her beloved husband, Shane, alive of having the best horse farm in Kentucky! If Amanda can hang on a little longer, the foals that are expected to arrive soon will bring a great price and she can pay the mortgage on the farm. With three small children and an elderly father-in-law, things are not coming easy for Amanda, who carries the weight of the workload on her petite shoulders, and now the roof on her barn has unexpectedly collapsed. Amanda cannot afford to hire anyone, and certainly cannot fix it herself. It is with great hesitation, and against her father-in-law’s wishes that she decides to rely on complete strangers, as it is her only option open for survival.

Irish immigrants Cole Donnelly and his thirteen- year- old, Devlin have been roaming their new homeland aimlessly taking food and shelter in exchange for chores. Hearing that the Widow Jeffrey is in need of help, Cole offers his skills to Amanda. Opening her home and her heart to the charming Cole and his strangely quiet child begins to stir emotions in Amanda and Cole that neither one ever thought they would feel again. Passion awakens between Amanda and Cole, and long dead dreams spark back to life from the deeply buried ashes. Meanwhile Dev recognizes a kindred soul in the stallion, Beau that the locals call “Devil Horse.” Deemed responsible for Shane Jeffrey’s death, Amanda has kept Beau in a padlock by himself. She would have had him destroyed long before if not for the foals she needs to sire from him.

Ruth Ryan Langan knows how to spin a heartwarming tale, and has done so again with her latest, Ashes of Dreams. Compelling characters grace this story, which is part Black Beauty and has shades of National Velvet. Shy teen Dev’s love and true faith that the spirited stallion Beau could once again be the champion he was bred to be, inspires Dev to overcome fears and prejudice. Thanks to those beliefs, Dev makes Amanda, Cole and an entire town see Beau for the winning racehorse he is, and in that process this shy, demure teenager stands up to the town bully! Amanda’s and Cole’s newfound dreams of a life, love and family together put to rest the past that they both needed to get over.

Reviewed in March 2005 by Bonnie.

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