I am vociferously passionate about good books. And I hate adverbs.
For me to read 500+ pages in three nights during NaNoWriMo? Yeah, let’s just say this was really, really good. I have cried like a baby, because at least the first third of this book just plain shattered me.
But it also has some pretty fabulous humoristic touches here and there, to lighten it up a bit.
(I liked it despite it being in present tense, which I hate. But at least it wasn’t in first person, which I despise).
The author demonstrates how to write Show, Don’t Tell-scenes.
She could have written: “Evan was confident and polite.” But she didn’t. She wrote, instead:
“When a minivan cuts in front of him and then slams on its brakes, Evan’s right arm shoots out to catch Dan as they brake hard to avoid a collision. Evan steers around the minivan and glances inside as he passes. He looks over at Dan and shrugs. “Damn, he’s got a pack of kids in there—I bet they’re driving him crazy.”
The author does more good work—it is not easy to describe the frame of mind of a person who is used to being thrown away, discarded. But here, I found a couple of phrases that just perfectly encompass that feeling inside you; here, look:
“I’ve been ‘like part of the family’ before, Robyn…it never lasts. People say the dog is like part of the family, right before they get rid of it because one of the real kids gets allergies.”
“It would be too easy to get comfortable here and too hard when he has to leave.”
It’s the “when” in that phrase that gives away the sad and resigned mindset.
This book really got to me, and the horse setup was really just a backdrop. The eventing described (eventing comprises dressage, show jumping and cross country jumping) was good and didn’t crowd the story. I liked the attitude to the horses, and I loved the vivid descriptions of nature.
But most of all, I loved these characters, a whole bunch of them, both men and women, working hard together. Lots of people from different walks of life and different ages too. They all seemed real.
I loved the men, who were men. I adored the women, who both acted and sounded like women.
And I loved how they interacted, without one being put down to pull the other up.
I hear there are more books to this series, I now have to investigate this, as the HFN ending was all very good, but I need more. I’m not done with these people, not by a long shot.
Because "Sometimes you just know."
I was given an ARC of this book for free from the publisher, Dreamspinner Press.
A positive review was neither expected nor promised in return.