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When Horses Had Wings

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  431 ratings  ·  58 reviews
Pregnant at 16, Renee Goodchild drops out of school and marries. Now she’s trapped in rural Texas with Kenny, her violent, garbage-collecting husband. A bleak future seems assured until she meets self-appointed relationship guru, Pearly.

“That’s why you don’t let ‘em rule the roost. ’Cause you can’t count on ‘em to be there the next mornin’ when it’s time to crow,” the
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Published October 19th 2011 by Corncob Press (first published October 17th 2011)
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Average rating 3.67  · 
Rating details
 ·  431 ratings  ·  58 reviews

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N. Sasson
Dec 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
From the outset it's clear that Renee's life isn't going to be rosy. Although she accepts her unintended pregnancy and teenage marriage to Kenny and plans to make the best of it, Kenny manages to make her life more and more miserable by the day. Anger and jealousy transform him from a useless, unsympathetic louse to an abusive spouse, not to mention the emotional abuse he employs in an attempt to control Renee and keep her underfoot. At times Renee's confidence wavers. But it is perhaps the ...more
Sep 24, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't able to muster a lot of sympathy for Renee. I know I should because she is the victim of abuse, but she made one dumb decision after another, and rarely defended herself against the abusers in her life. She had so many chances to get out of her situation and didn't. The ending was way too convenient and not that believable.
Nina Guilbeau
May 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even when we do not actively participate in our destiny, we are still on a chosen path. Life has a way of making decisions for us.

In Diana Estill's women's fiction title When Horses Had Wings, lead character Renee Goodchild understands the important lesson of gaining control of one's life more than most. Her unplanned teenage pregnancy prompts a premature wedding to her high school boyfriend, and now Renee must submit to the responsibility of adulthood without the benefit of actually being
Nov 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Girl and boy have the ‘wrong’ sort of fumble in his car
Girl is pregnant at 16
Girl marries boy
Boy is a violent and abusive – mentally and physically
Girl tries hard to leave boy with young son……

That’s just about the gist of this book: a very, very good book, set in the 1970s. I was captivated from the start. Narrated by Renee, the above-mentioned hapless young girl, an air of melancholy exudes her story. Never, however, do you feel pathetically sorry for her. There is always an element of
Apr 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It isn't easy to write a story that people can virtually see before their eyes as if they were watching it unfold right in front of their noses, but with each paragraph When Horses Had Wings unfolded before me in just that way. The writing was so true and believable that there could be no doubt in my mind that the characters were actually somewhere out there in the world, living just as they we written on paper.

Told in the first person, we follow the life of a woman who was a pregnant teen and
Apr 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-read
Renee didn't expect the 'rural opportunity' she and Kenny had enjoyed to make any real difference in her life. When, three months later, the preacher asked if she'd take Kenny as her lawfully wedded husband, she hesitated, trying to decide if she had a choice. But no, there was no choice, even if she was only sixteen. She was pregnant. And her daddy was a deacon in the church. It didn't matter that neither she nor Kenny had any idea how to be married let alone how to be parents.

So Renee tried to
The Passionate Design
A story well written...

I have to say, that this story hit home for me on many levels. The reflection of our society in a family.
Nov 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Renee is 16 years old and pregnant to a lazy, contoling man named Kenny. They have a shot gun wedding and move into a low income duplex. Renee is poor and uneducated but has a heart full of love. Kenny is abusive and degrading to Renee. After Sean is born, Renee, through Granny's wise words of wisdom, gets the courage to begin standing up for herself by driving, getting a job and leaving Kenny. Renee begins to build a life for her and Sean but it seems nothing ever comes easy for Renee. Her ...more
Jan 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle, read-2012
One of my recent reads was "Bird by Bird," by Anne Lamott. One of Lamott’s recurring themes is that an author has to tell “the truth.” This may seem strange when fiction, by definition, is a pack of lies; something the author has made up. What Lamott means is that everything about a character’s actions and words has to ring true with the reader. "When Horses Had Wings" rings true. While Renee makes choices and takes actions that are sometimes obviously the wrong thing to do, they are always true ...more
Apr 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good book is when somewhere towards the end I'd scream 'Nooooo!' This is one of the books. I like it because Estill (the author) has brought me into the life of Renee (the main character). I could feel for her. Though some events were rather forceful and unconvincing, I gave this book four stars because the last 20 pages of the book brought the story together - it is the strongest part of the entire book and it was worth going through the complex thoughts that Renee had.

Spoilers below:
Jun 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When Horses Had Wings is a moving tale of one woman -- actually one girl's -- journey from being an ill-informed, insecure teen, to being a pregnant teenager and battered wife. The story takes place during the 1970's prior to current laws on the books that protect women from spousal abuse, marital rape and the powerlessness that came with being from that time period. Add poverty and lack of education and the protagonist's tale appears quite bleak. That is, until she decides to take action for ...more
Oct 23, 2011 rated it liked it
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my review. Renee becomes pregnant and marries the baby's Daddy when she's just 16 years old. Her husband, Kenny, is degrading and possessive of her, he doesn't want her to work outside the home, or go to college, or even her GED. She manages to do it anyway, making it all seem like they Kenny's ideas. When things become progressively violent, she ends up leaving him, taking their son with her. During the divorce her life is turned ...more
Sep 23, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
2.75 stars. I liked the ambiance of the story and the way the author wrote the voices of the different characters, and I never wished to put it down. However, I found the plotline to be... blah. Obvious. And the events and emotions of the book were somewhat shallowly painted-- the main character would tell us that she was suffering, but I never really felt it. I would think yes, X happened, of course this is the hardest day of your life, but it was like I was always very aware that I was reading ...more
Debi DeBacco
Jul 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Diana Estill told a very moving story of an uneducated girl (Renee) in north Texas who at age 15 got pregnant by Kenny, a boy she met at a skating rink. That was 1976 and there were no other choices for Renee than to quit high school and live in poverty with Kenny, who became very abusive and their son Sean. At this time in history women who were in abusive marriages had no support or shelters to go to, and this details how that affected not only her life forever, but that of her son. The ...more
Zander Vyne
I won't give you the run-down of the story (as others have already done so). Instead, I'll say that I downloaded this as a free read, and it's one of the best freebies I've downloaded. The writing is strong and sure. The characters jump right off the pages. The plot moves along, and kept my interest throughout. Unlike some free reads, this one was edited and written by someone with an eye for detail. No typos!

The only downside for me was the ending. If you are religious, you'll love it. For me,
Mike  Davis
Nov 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Though the title is a bit obscure relative to the topic, When Horses Had Wings is a well written book which follows an old, familiar theme of spousal abuse, poverty, hopelessness, and finally finding a bit of light at the end of the tunnel. There are places where the protagonist misses direction, but she is easy for the reader to relate to. Sprinkled with a bit of adult language, sarcasm and humor, the text is well written and maintains the reader's interest throughout and earns its four ...more
Megan Cutler
"When Horses Had Wings" starts out strong. The narrator has a strong voice, which should make it easy to sympathize with her, but I often felt she stepped back before I could really connect with her. Also the characters aren't really quirky enough to be interesting; instead they end up as silly caricatures.

Unfortunately, the plot never came together for me. It felt like the narrator gave up halfway through her journey. She could see the road laid out ahead of her but, when things stopped going
Mar 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I really enjoyed this book. Having been on a zombie lit kick for awhile it was refreshing to read a well crafted tale that had characters that engaged me and themes that made me use the brains that zombies lust for. :P

Joking aside, Diana Estill has crafted a very good story with issues such as role models, self- esteem, infidelity and discovering ones identity among the top five things approached thematically.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone desirous of reading general fiction
Judi Coltman
Nov 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Estill is a well known humorist, but what kind of writer is she? In a word: Multi-layered. Estill juggles genres with a the dexterity of a master. "When Horses Had Wings" is not written as a memoir, but the voice of Renee is true enough, as the narrator to the story, to make you forget it's fiction and believe it is real. Sadly, the story is not a new one. Many women and men, boys and girls, really, face the reality of becoming parents too soon, pledging their lives with to one another and then ...more
Jul 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this coming-of-age book set in the 1970's was an interesting read. It brings to light a lot of touchy subjects that many authors avoid, and that is the subject of both spousal abuse and adultery. The main character is connectable, and she is an interesting person to watch grow and evolve, and to watch the hardships she faces shape her, rather than break her. As the story progresses, I would have liked to see a little more outside involvement, but that was the way it happened in those ...more
Pregnant at 16, Renee Goodchild drops out of school and marries. Now shes trapped in rural Texas with Kenny, her violent, garbage-collecting husband. A bleak future seems assured until she meets self-appointed relationship guru, Pearly. Thats why you dont let em rule the roost. Cause you cant count on em to be there the next mornin when its time to crow, the worldly Pearly advises. Renee narrates this tale of ruin and redemption where the damaged and downtrodden lead each other to unintended, ...more
Apr 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Debra by: Author
I LOVED this book! Cried, laughed, got pissed, and just genuinely felt for Renee as she goes through her life as a teenage Mom in an abusive marriage. Having been in an abusive marriage myself, it wasn't a stretch to feel what she was feeling, but at that tender age...OMGoodness. Brilliant character detail, and such imagery. The book really flowed well, keeping you on the edge of your seat! I read it in a few days because I couldn't put it down! I am very thankful to have won this book in a ...more
Beth Withers
Nov 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I can tell when a book is good because the world around me disappears and I have no clue what is going on while I am reading. This was one of those books. Once I started reading it, I didn't want to put it down. There were so many emotions I encountered while I read, especially anger at Kenny. I wanted to strangle him! I grew to adore the main character and the narrator, Renee. Renee marries young when she finds she is pregnant and has to deal with a less-than-perfect life. The message is a good ...more
Dierdra McGill
This is a story about abuse and loss and reads more like a memoir then a fictional story which would be ok with me but some parts of it were not believable to me like what happens in the court.
I did however enjoy the book overall and I really liked Renee and I enjoyed the story the author was trying to tell.
The ending was rushed however and I was a bit disappointed in that but this is a book I would recommend to someone else. The overall writing was well done and for a book I got free there
Mar 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this well-written book and had a hard time putting it down. I cheered for the main character the whole way through, and the author did a great job of making me care about her and admire her courage in the face of an abusive husband. The story kept going strong, but it wasn't a predictable straight line, and the triumphs didn't always produce the expected results. Still, I stayed hopeful for Renee that things would work out. As others mentioned, the ending seemed sort of sudden and ...more
Jul 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely fantastic first novel by Dianna Estill. Such a great find! Renee had a rough life getting pregnant at the age of 15, but I am so proud when she makes a hard decision to leave her abusive husband. What happens next is heart-breaking & I cannot imagine it happening to any mother, but she pulls through, makes a life for herslef, and I especially love that it is not your typical fairy-tale ending. I highly recommend it!!
Jan 28, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
What a disappointment

So disappointed in this book, the storyline, the characters. Author created such a weak and spineless character in Renee that no one could possibly empathise with her. The entire storyline and especially the end was completely unbelievable The only thing I'm grateful for is that this was a free book from Prime. No thank you from this reader
Mar 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book from Goodreads its a very well written book about a not so pleasant time in one girls life. I would consider this a coming of age book. I did enjoy how the author put quit a bit of humor into the story. I was to the point that I didn't want to put the book down and was really happy with the ending.
Jun 28, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really much better than I expected, given the fact that it was free on Kindle this week. The writing was excellent, and the author manages to deal with troubling material without spiraling into melodrama.

Warning for the conservatives: there is some language and some dark thematic elements to wrestle with.
Kristie Jones
This book started out well but completely lost it in the end. The story could have developed much deeper but it just ends .......I never made a connection between the title and the story line. It is however, a good story about overcoming your circumstances and never giving up.
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