Kevin Arnold

A couple riding horses on the beach in sunset

Sureness of Horses

The Sureness of Horses — by Kevin Arnold

When divorced Wade Middleton meets wealthy Diana Buchanan, a beautiful horsewoman relocating to Palo Alto, California, from Texas, he is introduced to the exhilarating world of horses and fox-hunting, and a whirlwind romance spins out of control. Talk about a culture clash. Problems arise in the relationship when Diana cannot let go of her high-horse lifestyle, nor disengage from her powerful husband. Wade’s love of poetry isn’t exactly embraced by Diana, either, and they are worlds apart. Yet for some reason, the two are saddled by an attraction to each other neither understands.

​            Wade learns to jump fences so he can ride behind the hounds with her. But he loses his passion for the sport one morning when he and Diana watch the hounds eviscerate a wild boar.

Add to this Wade’s frustrations when he tries to help his friend Jorge when he needs it most, and the guilt that ensues from his having the hots for his friend’s wife, a desire he admirably suppresses to an extent, and you have the makings of trouble. Wade has his own demons to wrestle down, but he is unprepared for the tragedy to come.

What people are saying about

The Sureness of Horses

 “Lyrical, compelling, absolutely riveting. Arnold had me hooked from page one.”  —Sara Houghteling, Fulbright fellow, Winner of the 2016 Narrative Prize and author of the award-winning novel Pictures at an Exhibition


“Unassuming Midwesterner Wade Middleton and wealthy, sophisticated Diana Buchanan are brought together by chance, newcomers in the swank confines of Palo Alto, California: “The Sureness of Horses” explores the various levels of that town’s mysterious, evolving class-system ladder—and on those quiet streets discovers violence where sexual passion and career ambition chafe. In the purest, most empathetic narrative tones, Kevin Arnold charts the forking paths of a moral wilderness in a society of ambitions achieved, ambitions pursued, and ambitions thwarted.”

—Louis B. Jones, Fiction co-Director, Squaw Valley Community of Writers and author of five prizewinning novels



“Once Diana introduced Wade to riding to hounds, I couldn’t put the book down. This activity was one of George Washington’s greatest passions, and these action-packed scenes ground Kevin’s novel in a rich American tradition. They remind me why my family and I have devoted ourselves to the sport for nearly thirty years.”

—Melinda K. Baxter, “Mindi,” Master, MFHA



“Kevin Arnold’s new novel touches the raw places that are the material of our human lives. In The Sureness of Horses, Arnold moves us through the subtlety and texture of poetry, love, parenting, growing older, and yes, the uncertainty of our own sureness. It’s a humble novel that speaks volumes.”

—Persis Karim, Neda Nobari Chair of the Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies, San Francisco State University


“What stood out for me was the artful blending of poetry into a muscular, well-plotted novel. The title is taken from a Jane Hirshfield poem, emphasizing aptly Arnold’s twin skills as poet and storyteller. It’s the rare novelist who can enhance a narrative—and move a reader—with the use of poems that amplify the story’s arc. Arnold is one of those very fortunate writers.”

—Julia Glass, author of the National Book Award-winning Three Junes and A House Among the Trees.

About the Author:


A graduate of the University of Wisconsin and having served in the US Navy, Kevin Arnold has published fifty stories and poems in literary journals and a book, Nineteen Poems around a Divorce. He earned his Master’s in Fine Arts from San Jose State University in 2007, the same year he helped found Gold Rush Writers in the California Mother Lode. He has ridden to hounds since 1999, earning his colors with the Los Altos Hounds. He served as President of Poetry Center San Jose for twelve years. Besides being a member of the Academy of American Poets, and being a longtime friend of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, Kevin is an Elder in the Presbyterian Church, USA. The San Francisco / Peninsula California Writer’s Club recently named him Writer of the Year.