“It was not so much her husband dying in another woman’s bed that had sent her into shock, but his dying at all. Roy had been only thirty-five years old, and while he had been in many a woman’s bed, he had never died on her before.”
With comic invention and warm tenderness, Matlock brings a time and place to life: windswept Oklahoma of the 1950s, prohibition, bush-track horse racing–and a man and woman who discover hope in new beginnings, and the tender promise of love.
If Wishes Were Horses tells the story of Etta Rivers, who is left grief-stricken, humiliated, and pregnant when her husband dies. With creditors taking things right and left, Etta is in danger of losing the only home she has ever known.
On the day of her husband’s funeral, a new man enters her life – Johnny Bellah, a broken ex-rodeo cowboy with a lame leg, who comes presenting an IOU from Roy. In lieu of payment, which Etta cannot pay, Johnny accepts a room in the barn and the use of the ranch facilities to train horses for customers. It is the beginning of a tentative relationship, one in which Etta and Johnny set out to see if they can train a winning horse, and find themselves helping each other.
* * * * *
If I have one fault as a writer –and I’m not admitting to any faults, but I might admit to a tendency– it is to be wordy. I think it is a trait of being Southern and fascination with details and what belongs to us. Southerners talk slow, but some of us talk a lot at times. And I can’t seem to see things without a bit of humor, even the darkest of subjects. I find people just pretty funny. I do a lot of explaining because of this.
I did at one time write genre romances, and I got caught up in the romances that were so popular at the time about cowboys. Only, I knew real cowboys, and let me just say I have never in my life met a real cowboy who would put a woman above his horse. It is always the ‘next’ horse, too, with a cowboy. They’ll have a horse that they are sure is a ‘winner’, and they’ll have it for a year, but come spring, they will already have spied another one that’s better by far. I find this a rather dear trait, actually, a sign of perpetual hope, which is a good way to live.
Knowing all of this, the cowboys in my books are always a little different. Yes, the way I want them to be, but the way they are, too. Isn’t that how each of see the people around us?
“You won’t find millionaires or supermodels between the pages of If Wishes Were Horses. Oh no. This is something far more valuable: real romance, between people so genuine they could be our neighbors.” ~ Cathy Sova, The Romance Reader
“There is something magical about this story of second chances, and the power of a woman’s heart.” ~ Ionia Martin, Top 500 Reviewer, Amazon.
You can read more about the writing of If Wishes Were Horses here.