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Chosen Forever: a memoir

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“Richards reflects on how rich life becomes when one travels her own best path. . . . Richards writes more courageously than she perhaps realizes, and each page of this uplifting book will touch a chord in everyone who enjoyed her first book.”-- Booklist “Charismatic. . . Engaging writing by an honest self-explorer.”-- Kirkus Reviews Praise for Chosen by a Horse: “An in “Richards reflects on how rich life becomes when one travels her own best path. . . . Richards writes more courageously than she perhaps realizes, and each page of this uplifting book will touch a chord in everyone who enjoyed her first book.”-- Booklist “Charismatic. . . Engaging writing by an honest self-explorer.”-- Kirkus Reviews Praise for Chosen by a Horse: “An inspired story of what family means, and what the loss of one can do to us, and for us.”—The Boston Globe “An incredibly moving story, beautifully written and insightful.”—The Roanoke Times “Two kindred spirits find each other in this beautifully written memoir.”—Temple Grandin, author of Animals in Translation When Susan Richards adopted an abused horse rescued by the local SPCA, she didn’t know how Lay Me Down’s loving nature would touch her heart—and change her life. Susan, a writing teacher, had lost her mother at the age of five and been abandoned by her father to uncaring relatives; she had endured an unhappy marriage ending in divorce and had self-medicated for anxiety and repressed anger with alcohol. For more than a decade, she aspired to be published, but it was only with the memoir she wrote to honor Lay Me Down that she achieved this goal. The book led to a book tour, in the course of which Susan reconnected with family and friends. But even more joyously, at the second reading on her tour she met the man who had sold her his house twenty-four years earlier, a world-famous photographer, Dennis Stock. And they fell in love.


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“Richards reflects on how rich life becomes when one travels her own best path. . . . Richards writes more courageously than she perhaps realizes, and each page of this uplifting book will touch a chord in everyone who enjoyed her first book.”-- Booklist “Charismatic. . . Engaging writing by an honest self-explorer.”-- Kirkus Reviews Praise for Chosen by a Horse: “An in “Richards reflects on how rich life becomes when one travels her own best path. . . . Richards writes more courageously than she perhaps realizes, and each page of this uplifting book will touch a chord in everyone who enjoyed her first book.”-- Booklist “Charismatic. . . Engaging writing by an honest self-explorer.”-- Kirkus Reviews Praise for Chosen by a Horse: “An inspired story of what family means, and what the loss of one can do to us, and for us.”—The Boston Globe “An incredibly moving story, beautifully written and insightful.”—The Roanoke Times “Two kindred spirits find each other in this beautifully written memoir.”—Temple Grandin, author of Animals in Translation When Susan Richards adopted an abused horse rescued by the local SPCA, she didn’t know how Lay Me Down’s loving nature would touch her heart—and change her life. Susan, a writing teacher, had lost her mother at the age of five and been abandoned by her father to uncaring relatives; she had endured an unhappy marriage ending in divorce and had self-medicated for anxiety and repressed anger with alcohol. For more than a decade, she aspired to be published, but it was only with the memoir she wrote to honor Lay Me Down that she achieved this goal. The book led to a book tour, in the course of which Susan reconnected with family and friends. But even more joyously, at the second reading on her tour she met the man who had sold her his house twenty-four years earlier, a world-famous photographer, Dennis Stock. And they fell in love.

30 review for Chosen Forever: a memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    My mother, an amazing equestrian and lifelong lover of horses, gave me this book and I finally read it, two years after my mother's death. Although I had not read 'Chosen by a Horse, Richards' bestselling memoir, this follow-up touched me deeply, as Richards so eloquently describes her journey toward healing from anxiety and low self-esteem. That healing came from nature, animals and especially horses. I also appreciated her descriptions of New England as she toured the northeast on a book tour. My mother, an amazing equestrian and lifelong lover of horses, gave me this book and I finally read it, two years after my mother's death. Although I had not read 'Chosen by a Horse, Richards' bestselling memoir, this follow-up touched me deeply, as Richards so eloquently describes her journey toward healing from anxiety and low self-esteem. That healing came from nature, animals and especially horses. I also appreciated her descriptions of New England as she toured the northeast on a book tour. Being an author myself, I could appreciate her fear and self-deprecating humor as she encountered the ups and downs of book readings and signings. A sweet memoir for animal lovers everywhere.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jan

    Lay Me Down is the horse that changed Susan Richards' life. This book is about her prior book, "Chosen by a Horse", the book tours she took, the feelings she had, falling in love and reaching retirement. I felt it was more of a self exploration than a memoir but was insightful and touching. Lay Me Down is the horse that changed Susan Richards' life. This book is about her prior book, "Chosen by a Horse", the book tours she took, the feelings she had, falling in love and reaching retirement. I felt it was more of a self exploration than a memoir but was insightful and touching.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Narilka

    I loved Chosen by a Horse when I read it a couple years ago, enough so that when I saw a second memoir by Susan Richards with horses on the cover I knew I had to pick it up. Unfortunately this is a case where I should have read the book blurb better. Instead of being about her horses this book is about the impact publishing her first book had on Susan's life and the book tour and life events that came after. It is a lovely little memoir, written with heart and a lot of self reflection, and provi I loved Chosen by a Horse when I read it a couple years ago, enough so that when I saw a second memoir by Susan Richards with horses on the cover I knew I had to pick it up. Unfortunately this is a case where I should have read the book blurb better. Instead of being about her horses this book is about the impact publishing her first book had on Susan's life and the book tour and life events that came after. It is a lovely little memoir, written with heart and a lot of self reflection, and provides a little insight into the life of a newly published author.

  4. 5 out of 5

    ~mad

    sequel to "Chosen By a Horse" - so I know it's going to be abslutely wonderful. October 2008 - I finished this after some time. I so much related to this author - she is retirement age, which I am closing in on. So many of her thoughts about midlife and transitioning lifestyles were great insights for me. Her quotes found their way into my journal. Probably would not recommend this to younger friends, unless they just wanted to hear "her" point of view - they are lovely stories. ~Mad sequel to "Chosen By a Horse" - so I know it's going to be abslutely wonderful. October 2008 - I finished this after some time. I so much related to this author - she is retirement age, which I am closing in on. So many of her thoughts about midlife and transitioning lifestyles were great insights for me. Her quotes found their way into my journal. Probably would not recommend this to younger friends, unless they just wanted to hear "her" point of view - they are lovely stories. ~Mad

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kallejay

    I think I got this book becuase I thought it was her great memoir "Chosen Forever." However, it was just a long book about that book and how great it was. Oh, and she falls in love, but it's mostly about doing book tours and descriptions of book stores. It made me crazy wishing I was reading the real book rather than the book about the book. Grrr I think I got this book becuase I thought it was her great memoir "Chosen Forever." However, it was just a long book about that book and how great it was. Oh, and she falls in love, but it's mostly about doing book tours and descriptions of book stores. It made me crazy wishing I was reading the real book rather than the book about the book. Grrr

  6. 4 out of 5

    Leia

    I have three main beefs with this book. Maybe four. Firstly—this book has little to nothing to do with Chosen by a Horse. Which would be fine, if it weren’t deliberately titled to invoke that book. I enjoyed that one, with some reservations. This one I did not. Which leads me to— Secondly—this woman cannot be grateful for anything. She got her book blurbed on Oh!, but it was too small and didn’t have a picture. Her publisher sent her on a book tour, but the turnout wasn’t as good as Richards expe I have three main beefs with this book. Maybe four. Firstly—this book has little to nothing to do with Chosen by a Horse. Which would be fine, if it weren’t deliberately titled to invoke that book. I enjoyed that one, with some reservations. This one I did not. Which leads me to— Secondly—this woman cannot be grateful for anything. She got her book blurbed on Oh!, but it was too small and didn’t have a picture. Her publisher sent her on a book tour, but the turnout wasn’t as good as Richards expected. It’s incredibly irritating to read about an author who wrote a book that was more successful than she could’ve imagined, but at the same time, was constantly griping about how things weren’t good enough. I realize this is probably a symptom of her anxiety, but I couldn’t get past the lack of self-awareness here. Thirdly—she paints her relationship with Dennis Stock in a very romantic light, despite some glaring issues. He announces a major relationship step to everyone without talking to Richards first. He agrees with her about how to approach an event, and then wheedles her away from everything they agreed upon afterward. He has no apparent sense of personal boundaries, touching people’s faces whom he’s never met, and is just all-around an annoying human being. Richards portrays him as this daring, romantic man, but even then the reader can clearly trace controlling behaviors. Also, she decides at one point to stay with him because she sees two bald eagles flying together, because “it was a sign.” WHAT? Fourth(ly?)—this is more a meandering memoir with no overarching premise. The first half is mostly about the success of Chosen by a Horse, the second half mostly about the relationship with Dennis. Interspersed throughout are anecdotes about the family she remembers, some animal stories, and just so much overthinking. Once again, this is probably a product of the author’s self-professed anxiety, but it made for a self-involved narrator who had no self-awareness and whose self-reflection was nothing short of irritating. I listened to this as an audiobook, and I couldn’t wait for it to be over. There are charming moments, to be sure, but watching Richards repeat the same mistakes toward men (overthinking to the point she checks out of a relationship, being too accommodating, which at one point she shows how she broke away from that and then goes right back to doing it, making commitments with partners that she is ambivalent about) is so frustrating. Tl;dr: Read Chosen by a Horse and stop there.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Christie Bane

    This was an okay reading (or listening) experience for me. It isn’t so much the story of her romance with the man she ended up marrying as it is the story of everything that happened after she published a book. I guess I was expecting more of a romance and I was slightly taken aback to find that it mostly wasn’t that, but it wasn’t a bad book. Just not was I was expecting and not super exciting.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mark "Lefty" Holencik

    I decided to read this book because I read her first book "Chosen by a Horse". That book was excellent. She was open and honest about how Lay-Me-Down changed her life and help her resolve her past. This book was so repetitive. Everyone she meets makes her feel insecure and she has a need to go in-depth about the same thing every time she meets someone or makes a decision. I decided to read this book because I read her first book "Chosen by a Horse". That book was excellent. She was open and honest about how Lay-Me-Down changed her life and help her resolve her past. This book was so repetitive. Everyone she meets makes her feel insecure and she has a need to go in-depth about the same thing every time she meets someone or makes a decision.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    I have always loved horses and listening to this memoir I went through most of the things that this author did and I learned a lot from my horse, dogs & cats over the years and this has helped me also move ahead with my life like the author.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    This was a lush, beautifully written memoir that was, in spots, very thought provoking. The author's upbringing certainly made me appreciate my family. This was a lush, beautifully written memoir that was, in spots, very thought provoking. The author's upbringing certainly made me appreciate my family.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Marilyn Kavanaugh

    The father she never had? This is a stream-of-consciousness autobiography pegged onto book tour stops in which the author raises more questions than she answers.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Helen Bratko

    Sweet book, read Chosen by a Horse first.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Liza Gomez

    A very sweet read...love her books!!

  14. 4 out of 5

    K9stylist

    Enjoyed the subject matter but wow, is she insecure. It reminded me a little of one of Valerie Bertinelli's books because instead of appreciating things, Valerie just whines about how fat she thinks she is. Enjoyed the subject matter but wow, is she insecure. It reminded me a little of one of Valerie Bertinelli's books because instead of appreciating things, Valerie just whines about how fat she thinks she is.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lis Carey

    Susan Richards rescued a horse named Lay Me Down, and changed her own life. Then, after Lay Me Down's death, she wrote a book about her, and did a book tour, and changed her life again. This is the story of that book tour, and if you think that's an unpromising topic, you're in for a delightful surprise. Caring for Lay Me Down helped Susan Richards take the first real steps towards recovery from her emotionally isolated childhood, abusive marriage, and severe anxiety disorder. Writing about the e Susan Richards rescued a horse named Lay Me Down, and changed her own life. Then, after Lay Me Down's death, she wrote a book about her, and did a book tour, and changed her life again. This is the story of that book tour, and if you think that's an unpromising topic, you're in for a delightful surprise. Caring for Lay Me Down helped Susan Richards take the first real steps towards recovery from her emotionally isolated childhood, abusive marriage, and severe anxiety disorder. Writing about the experience took her further on her recovery, acknowledging her anger and beginning to forgive both herself and others. In making the book tour for Chosen By a Horse, Richards does two important things: She reconnects with long-estranged family and friends, and she begins to truly get the better of her anxiety disorder. A third thing, even more important, she begins to accept herself as a worthy writer and interesting person, A fourth thing. She meets, or rather meets again, renowned photographer Dennis Stock. She bought her farm from him twenty-four years ago, and at the time, she thought him arrogant. She apparently made no impression on him at all. Meeting again at one of Susan's first readings, at an animal shelter, they have rather a different effect on each other, and slowly begin a relationship. This book isn't about the events; it's about Susan Richards' emotional and personal growth, and her amazing courage in being able to write about her feelings, behavior, and growth in stunning clarity. It's a revealing and rewarding story. Highly recommended. I borrowed this book from a friend.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Maureen

    Chosen Forever is based on horses in which I love horses my self. It also continues from the story chosen by a horse. It also talks about healing relationships with horses. As the story is more about a memoir as it also focus on the same characters as in the story chosen forever. In this story ,She points him out to her friend and says that if she were to ever date again, she'd want the man she dated to look just like him. Later, she finds out he’s actually not married to the woman he’s with; she Chosen Forever is based on horses in which I love horses my self. It also continues from the story chosen by a horse. It also talks about healing relationships with horses. As the story is more about a memoir as it also focus on the same characters as in the story chosen forever. In this story ,She points him out to her friend and says that if she were to ever date again, she'd want the man she dated to look just like him. Later, she finds out he’s actually not married to the woman he’s with; she’s just a friend. Richards is later introduced to him.In her mid-fifties, Richards has pretty much given up on finding a man to share her life with. She has three adoring dogs and a cat to share her bed with. What more could she ask for. It is a very good story as Richards talks about her fears and trimphs. The way she describes her pets which includes her horses and cats. Richards also has beautiful names for them also. Great Book.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie A.

    I loved Chosen By A Horse, and couldn't understand why Saddled later showed up next to it at the library, but not this one. Now I do -- despite the cover, it's not about horses at all, it's about the book tour and what life was like after being published, like many quick sequels to bestselling memoirs. It's interesting detail, just not as memorable, though cute dogs/dog stories abound and I was pleasantly charmed by her apparently fated-to-be relationship with Dennis (a surprisingly famous photo I loved Chosen By A Horse, and couldn't understand why Saddled later showed up next to it at the library, but not this one. Now I do -- despite the cover, it's not about horses at all, it's about the book tour and what life was like after being published, like many quick sequels to bestselling memoirs. It's interesting detail, just not as memorable, though cute dogs/dog stories abound and I was pleasantly charmed by her apparently fated-to-be relationship with Dennis (a surprisingly famous photographer, it turns out). He comes across as a bit of an odd duck, someone I would not be comfortable around at all, but it seemed to work well for her.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Shella

    Susan Richards is a writer, but no one appreciates her, but she just wrote a book called 'Chosen by a horse', and that book makes her really famous, in the chapter that I am reading now, she is going through a lot of readings, and interviews, but the story is actually about a horse, a book, and 'finding love', Susan Richards was really tired for doing the reading session, she even have a reading tour, but there was this man, who she met along time ago, and she just saw him, saw him in her readin Susan Richards is a writer, but no one appreciates her, but she just wrote a book called 'Chosen by a horse', and that book makes her really famous, in the chapter that I am reading now, she is going through a lot of readings, and interviews, but the story is actually about a horse, a book, and 'finding love', Susan Richards was really tired for doing the reading session, she even have a reading tour, but there was this man, who she met along time ago, and she just saw him, saw him in her reading session, who is this man? Find out more in this book! Susan Richards

  19. 5 out of 5

    Hollie

    I like Susan Richards because she's almost as anxiety-prone as I am. This is her take on a book tour that was never supposed to happen, and how it reconnected her with many friends and family members from her past. If there is one thing I would change, it would be that I read her NYT best-selling memoir "Chosen By A Horse," first, because she makes constant references to it throughout this book and it's difficult, not knowing the entire story. For anyone who likes or dreams of living in the coun I like Susan Richards because she's almost as anxiety-prone as I am. This is her take on a book tour that was never supposed to happen, and how it reconnected her with many friends and family members from her past. If there is one thing I would change, it would be that I read her NYT best-selling memoir "Chosen By A Horse," first, because she makes constant references to it throughout this book and it's difficult, not knowing the entire story. For anyone who likes or dreams of living in the country, finding love later in life, and is a sucker for horses, this book is for you.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sasha

    This follow up to "Chosen by a Horse" was an interesting peek into Richards' life after she published her first book. She details her experiences of the book tour, reconnecting with people from her childhood, and relationship struggles with insight and honesty. The narrative is punctuated by wry humor and stories of her animals, which will please fans of her first book. There are little nuggets of wisdom throughout, but the focus of this book is more human than horse (unlike her first book). A s This follow up to "Chosen by a Horse" was an interesting peek into Richards' life after she published her first book. She details her experiences of the book tour, reconnecting with people from her childhood, and relationship struggles with insight and honesty. The narrative is punctuated by wry humor and stories of her animals, which will please fans of her first book. There are little nuggets of wisdom throughout, but the focus of this book is more human than horse (unlike her first book). A satisfying sequel.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Peggy

    Richard's memoir relates the agony and uncertaincies of her first book tour. I have not read her first book (the book for which she was doing readings), Chosen by a Horse, but I will. After countless rejections by editors, her first memoir about her beloved horse was published. Then the real work begain--endless traveling and readings. Sometimes only one or two people showed up. The book also recounts Richard's later-in-life romance and subsequent marriage to photographer, Dennis Stock. I immedi Richard's memoir relates the agony and uncertaincies of her first book tour. I have not read her first book (the book for which she was doing readings), Chosen by a Horse, but I will. After countless rejections by editors, her first memoir about her beloved horse was published. Then the real work begain--endless traveling and readings. Sometimes only one or two people showed up. The book also recounts Richard's later-in-life romance and subsequent marriage to photographer, Dennis Stock. I immediately felt a kinship with Richards, not only as a writer, but as an animal lover.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sheryl Wagner

    I loved this book...such an honest memoir of what happens unexpectedly and as a result of living life in a meaningful way, growing and doing what you are meant to be doing at the moment. The reader can identify with a love that starts as a curiosity, moves on to interest with careful observation, then balances criticism with hope for possibilities, and finally blossoms into a warm, caring love that envelopes her, filling in the needy places that Susan's horses (read her previous works) fell shor I loved this book...such an honest memoir of what happens unexpectedly and as a result of living life in a meaningful way, growing and doing what you are meant to be doing at the moment. The reader can identify with a love that starts as a curiosity, moves on to interest with careful observation, then balances criticism with hope for possibilities, and finally blossoms into a warm, caring love that envelopes her, filling in the needy places that Susan's horses (read her previous works) fell short of healing.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sherryl

    To begin with, I am not much of a memoir person, but I read her first memoir, Chosen By A Horse, and absolutely loved it, so I thought I would give this one a try. It was nothing compared to the first book. It was basically just describing how if felt to get her first book noticed - going through book readings and appearances at book stores, overcoming some of her fears and becoming reunited with all of the friends and love ones she lost through out her life.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Self

    I'm giving this a low rating just because I wasn't feeling like this had as much of a story or freshness to it as her previous book (chosen by a horse) did. Yes, I am a harsh critic. Picky reader I guess. I stuck with it for lack of anything else to read at the moment. I admire her fortitude and can appreciate what she has been through and done with her life, just hope the next book has more oomph to it. I'm giving this a low rating just because I wasn't feeling like this had as much of a story or freshness to it as her previous book (chosen by a horse) did. Yes, I am a harsh critic. Picky reader I guess. I stuck with it for lack of anything else to read at the moment. I admire her fortitude and can appreciate what she has been through and done with her life, just hope the next book has more oomph to it.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Faithann

    Although I didn't like it as much as I did Chosen By a Horse, this was still an excellent book and definintely worth reading. I found it intersting to follow her as she went about publishing Chosen By a Horse, going on her book tour, and finding the love of her life. I think the book could have done with a little less of the flash backs. They were needed in some parts, but other parts I found them to be slightly irrelevant to the story. Although I didn't like it as much as I did Chosen By a Horse, this was still an excellent book and definintely worth reading. I found it intersting to follow her as she went about publishing Chosen By a Horse, going on her book tour, and finding the love of her life. I think the book could have done with a little less of the flash backs. They were needed in some parts, but other parts I found them to be slightly irrelevant to the story.

  26. 5 out of 5

    EMP

    2.5 stars. First of all, if I picked this one up and hadn't recently finished Chosen by a Horse (which I liked very much), there's no WAY I would have finished it. IMO, this is not a stand-alone book - unless you really dig reading about what small book tours are like. I only enjoyed it as much as I did because I felt I knew the author's backstory and how far she'd come. Do yourself a favor. Read her first book and then if you really love it, grab this one. 2.5 stars. First of all, if I picked this one up and hadn't recently finished Chosen by a Horse (which I liked very much), there's no WAY I would have finished it. IMO, this is not a stand-alone book - unless you really dig reading about what small book tours are like. I only enjoyed it as much as I did because I felt I knew the author's backstory and how far she'd come. Do yourself a favor. Read her first book and then if you really love it, grab this one.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Marcelle

    Story of a woman who wrote a book and what happened to her as she set out to promote it and reacquainted herself with her past friends and family AND future husband. I enjoy how Susan Richards writes - it's easy and enjoyable reading. This book would not appeal to the younger set but would to those in their "middle" years! Story of a woman who wrote a book and what happened to her as she set out to promote it and reacquainted herself with her past friends and family AND future husband. I enjoy how Susan Richards writes - it's easy and enjoyable reading. This book would not appeal to the younger set but would to those in their "middle" years!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Barb

    I appreciated Susan Richards honesty, bearing her soul and I enjoyed hearing her story. I am going to think about her belief that animals send us reliable true signs that we should listen to. I am happy for her and the joy and contentment that she has found it her life. I appreciate that she shared her life story. I am really looking forward to reading Chosen by a Horse.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Garynvirg

    Interesting how Susan Richards' describes her anxiety, grief and anger and how she was able to overcome it all through the love of a horse and later a man! "People and events come into our lives for specific reasons and if we pay attention, we can learn extraordinary things. We can grow and, sometimes, even conquer our worst fears." S.R. Interesting how Susan Richards' describes her anxiety, grief and anger and how she was able to overcome it all through the love of a horse and later a man! "People and events come into our lives for specific reasons and if we pay attention, we can learn extraordinary things. We can grow and, sometimes, even conquer our worst fears." S.R.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jan Tonner

    I randomly picked up this book because it was in the format that was convenient for me (mp3) and looked interesting. I immediately liked the author and enjoyed listening to her story (I think because I could relate in many ways). Chosen By A Horse, the book that this book is about, sounds like something I would enjoy reading.

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