Looking for a good gift book? Pick up this sweet collection of real-life stories about the power of love and horses to heal the hurts of disadvantaged children.

Kim Meeder knows this healing firsthand. When a murder/suicide left her violently orphaned as a young child, a horse became the turning point in her own journey to wholeness. Meeder and her husband, Tony, now operate Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch in Oregon, a nonprofit organization that rescues neglected and abused horses and pairs them with at-risk children of all ages.

"Now I have 25 (horses) that save other children's lives," Meeder writes. The victories she portrays are sometimes small but important: the joy of a handicapped child who rides for the first time, a pony who gives a young abused boy a "hug," the softened heart of a hardened juvenile who discovers a bond with an abandoned, injured horse.

As Meeder unfolds her stories, there is no shortage of metaphors and flowery descriptions. The sentimentality can detract from the genuinely poignant stories—readers may need a handkerchief or two—but the beauty of the book is Meeder's passion for wounded children and horses.

Cindy Crosby is a regular contributor to Publishers Weekly.

Related Elsewhere

Hope Rising is available from Christianbook.com and other book retailers.

The publisher's web site has more information about the author, a sample from the book, and a video.

Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch has a web site.

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