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As a world-class equestrian and Olympic contender, Annemarie Zimmer lived for the thrill of flight atop a strong, graceful animal. Then, at eighteen, a tragic accident destroyed her riding career and Harry, the beautiful horse she cherished. Now, twenty years later, Annemarie is coming home to her dying father's New Hampshire horse farm. Jobless and abandoned, she is bring As a world-class equestrian and Olympic contender, Annemarie Zimmer lived for the thrill of flight atop a strong, graceful animal. Then, at eighteen, a tragic accident destroyed her riding career and Harry, the beautiful horse she cherished. Now, twenty years later, Annemarie is coming home to her dying father's New Hampshire horse farm. Jobless and abandoned, she is bringing her troubled teenage daughter to this place of pain and memory, where ghosts of an unresolved youth still haunt the fields and stables—and where hope lives in the eyes of the handsome, gentle veterinarian Annemarie loved as a girl . . . and in the seductive allure of a trainer with a magic touch. But everything will change yet again with one glimpse of a white striped gelding startlingly similar to the one Annemarie lost in another lifetime. And an obsession is born that could shatter her fragile world.


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As a world-class equestrian and Olympic contender, Annemarie Zimmer lived for the thrill of flight atop a strong, graceful animal. Then, at eighteen, a tragic accident destroyed her riding career and Harry, the beautiful horse she cherished. Now, twenty years later, Annemarie is coming home to her dying father's New Hampshire horse farm. Jobless and abandoned, she is bring As a world-class equestrian and Olympic contender, Annemarie Zimmer lived for the thrill of flight atop a strong, graceful animal. Then, at eighteen, a tragic accident destroyed her riding career and Harry, the beautiful horse she cherished. Now, twenty years later, Annemarie is coming home to her dying father's New Hampshire horse farm. Jobless and abandoned, she is bringing her troubled teenage daughter to this place of pain and memory, where ghosts of an unresolved youth still haunt the fields and stables—and where hope lives in the eyes of the handsome, gentle veterinarian Annemarie loved as a girl . . . and in the seductive allure of a trainer with a magic touch. But everything will change yet again with one glimpse of a white striped gelding startlingly similar to the one Annemarie lost in another lifetime. And an obsession is born that could shatter her fragile world.

30 review for Riding Lessons

  1. 4 out of 5

    Terrie Shortsleeve

    After I loved "Water for Elephants" I really thought this would be another great book. But, the main character was SO annoying. No one person could possibly be that incompetent in every area of their lives: marriage, parenting, relationship with her own parents, business, romance. She was a failure at everything and she never seemed to learn from her mistakes. Read "Water for Elephants" instead!! After I loved "Water for Elephants" I really thought this would be another great book. But, the main character was SO annoying. No one person could possibly be that incompetent in every area of their lives: marriage, parenting, relationship with her own parents, business, romance. She was a failure at everything and she never seemed to learn from her mistakes. Read "Water for Elephants" instead!!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Elise

    I once had a gentleman friend extremely fond of the phrase, "Over the top," although he pronounced it, "Overrrr de TOPP," for reasons I won't go into. In any case, that phrase recurred in my brain as I read this book. Gruen is a good writer, but an editor really needed to slap her hand away from the crisis button during the review of this book. I mean, the main character is getting divorced, barely on speaking terms with her parents, oh wait, her father is dying so that helps things in that scena I once had a gentleman friend extremely fond of the phrase, "Over the top," although he pronounced it, "Overrrr de TOPP," for reasons I won't go into. In any case, that phrase recurred in my brain as I read this book. Gruen is a good writer, but an editor really needed to slap her hand away from the crisis button during the review of this book. I mean, the main character is getting divorced, barely on speaking terms with her parents, oh wait, her father is dying so that helps things in that scenario, she has a teenage daughter running out of control (and she's a terrible parent naturally), she's heading toward financial ruin, she's sleeping with an old flame, she's afraid to ride again, she has acquired a horse under suspicious legal circumstances, she's flirting with a Frenchman, the French guy has a mustache, she's drinking too much and taking Valiums like they're canapes at a boring wedding--it's exhausting to read and with all that going on, who has time to give a crap about the characters? Although naturally it's pleasing to realize that, perhaps with Hollywood in mind, everything will be resolved by the final page of the book, when finances are going great, she's riding her newly acquired horse, she's reconciled with her daughter, mother and husband, has mourned her father's death (but not too much), etc., etc., yawn, yawn. Also, although Gruen is a good writer, this book is a textbook case of telling not showing. Disappointing.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kristina

    Life is really too short to read books this damn dumb. When I pulled this book from my shelf and read the back cover I couldn’t remember why the hell I’d bought this book back in 2009. I’m guessing I’d just finished the author’s Water for Elephants and liked it enough to give another of her books a shot. Also, horses are involved and I’m a sucker for anything horse-related. Well, the horsey descriptions cannot make up for awkward writing, a moronic and odious heroine, and clunky romantic element Life is really too short to read books this damn dumb. When I pulled this book from my shelf and read the back cover I couldn’t remember why the hell I’d bought this book back in 2009. I’m guessing I’d just finished the author’s Water for Elephants and liked it enough to give another of her books a shot. Also, horses are involved and I’m a sucker for anything horse-related. Well, the horsey descriptions cannot make up for awkward writing, a moronic and odious heroine, and clunky romantic elements. Sara Gruen’s Riding Lessons is the story of Annemarie Zimmer who was once an Olympic contender in equestrian sports, but, after a horrific riding accident at eighteen, refused to ever ride again. Now she is a 38 year old woman who has moved back home to New Hampshire and her parents’ horse farm in order to put her shattered life back together. That’s the concise summary of the book. What happens is, all on the same day, Annemarie (aka Dipshit) is laid off from her job, her husband tells her he’s leaving her for a younger woman, she discovers her daughter is in danger of being expelled from school, and her mother calls her to tell her that her father is dying of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), a particularly horrible disease that gradually paralyzes the body but leaves the mind active and aware. As a reader I think, “Whoa. That’s a lot of crap to hit a person all on one day.” But okay, I’ll put aside my doubts and keep reading. How is our intrepid heroine going to deal with all this? In one word: badly. First, she packs up her surly teenage daughter Eva and moves them from Minneapolis to New Hampshire. Ostensibly this is to help around the house and see her father, but she’s so horrified by his deteriorating condition that she avoids him and can barely stand to be around him. Okay, I can understand that this is difficult, but wow. Annemarie, you are officially a Dipshit and an asshole. Next, she walks in on her daughter in the bathtub and, after spending a certain amount of time creepily observing her daughter’s “impossibly firm” breasts and “perfect, taut skin,” she sees above one of her breasts a tattoo of a unicorn “with a radius of approximately one inch” and freaks the fuck out (62). She attempts to yank Eva from the tub, causing the girl to fall backwards into the tub, screams at her that she is a stupid little girl and storms from the room to look up plastic surgeons to have this teeny tiny unicorn blasted from her daughter’s perfect body. Uh, who’s the child here? Damn woman, calm down. It’s a tiny tattoo of a unicorn for crying out loud. Within twenty minutes (seriously, that’s directly from the book), Dipshit storms downstairs, shouting for Eva to come here right this second because they have an appointment in half an hour to see a plastic surgeon. Um, okay, more eye-rolling on my part. Really? You have an appointment with a plastic surgeon today in 30 minutes? C’mon. You’re in New Hampshire, not freaking Los Angeles. And where the hell is this plastic surgeon who can see you in 30 minutes? Does New Hampshire have an office conveniently located nearby solely dedicated to seeing melodramatic psycho idiotic mothers? Luckily, Papa sees this and he consoles his stupid daughter, telling her that if she forces Eva to remove the tattoo, she’ll probably be resentful and do something even more rebellious. Gee, ya think? Dipshit is astonished by this amazing insight and never hauls Eva to the plastic surgeon. From what I can see, Eva is not a bad kid. It seems that she is just acting like a teenager—excited about something and talkative one day, surly and sullen the next. That’s being a teenager. That’s what they do. They also sometimes do things they know will piss off their parents and the parents should be wise enough to know this and be flexible enough to deal with it without freaking out. Dipshit is not this parent. Who knows about Roger, her missing husband, but Dipshit seems to have been an absent parent and even when she spent time with her daughter, she didn’t seem to enjoy the experience all that much. All parents screw up and make mistakes, but Dipshit is too much of a child herself to deal maturely with Eva. This book has a lot of problems, but the poorly constructed characters is the biggest. I think Gruen meant for readers to have sympathy for Dipshit and to show how Dipshit is courageous and can face the overwhelming challenges life has thrown at her. However, Gruen has piled on way too many challenges for Dipshit and Dipshit is not facing them. I can understand Dipshit being unfocused and thrown off balance by her loss of a job and her husband leaving her AND her father’s ALS, but c’mon. She doesn’t deal with any of it. She avoids her lawyer’s emails and phone calls even though she’s the one who initiated divorce proceedings…and she still has thoughts such as, “oh, I’m sure Roger and I can work it out and get back together.” Um, then why do you avoid his phone calls and emails? Why did you file for divorce? Supposedly she wants to help her father, but she is horrified by him and can’t face him so she avoids him. She picks fights with her mother (“Mutti,” apparently German for mother/mom? “Pappa” and “Mutti” are names that both annoy me. I guess it just seems childish) about stupid stuff because she’s an immature brat. When she tells Mutti she wants to help run the stables, Mutti tells her no because she doesn’t have the training and it’s more complicated than she thinks. Dipshit gets offended by this and responds with a smart ass comment, “It’s not rocket science!” Cue the dramatic music: Dipshit fucks up managing the stables. I’m not sure when she started managing the stables; from what the author has shown me of Mutti, she wouldn’t have allowed it. But suddenly Dipshit is managing and Mutti is shuffled off-stage to take care of her husband. This doesn’t make any sense because they have a male nurse who is there now almost 24/7 to help with Pappa and he zips around in a wheelchair so…what’s Mutti doing? Oh, yeah, the author needed to have Dipshit take over the stable management so she can show how demanding it is and add more difficulty to this woman’s life. I’m guessing that magically (with the help of a good man, there are two candidates waiting to be interviewed) she’ll see she need to focus and bam! she’ll become an amazing stable manager. Overnight. I guess because I will not make it that far. This woman is not a believable character. She was raised with horses, loves horses, raised her daughter to love horses and ride, and yet she mismanages her parents’ business and doesn’t seem to care if the horses have feed or shavings. When she is reminded for the umpteenth time by one of the stable hands that he’s almost out of hay and shavings and has she ordered them yet?, she’s horrified (only two days’ supply left?!) and promises to call, but instead decides, oh yeah, now’s a great time to read the divorce settlement I’ve been avoiding for weeks. It’s just so blatantly stupid. I mean, let’s avoid discussing the fact that a stable like that (with thirty or so horses) would probably have hay and straw delivered automatically on a schedule so as to avoid the necessity of calling every month or so to place an order (not to mention if they’ve settled on a fee and have paid for a year’s supply in advance they would avoid the price fluctuations), why the hell would she procrastinate on that? Usually people procrastinate on stuff they have a reason to avoid. I can see her avoiding Roger’s phone calls, avoiding dealing with the reality of her failed marriage by dodging her lawyer, but this is a simple order for vital supplies. It’s very, very bad plot construction by the author. When the author has to contort the characters or the plot to make dumb things happen so that something else happens to further the plot and I can see the bones of the plot so clearly it’s as if I’ve written the plot outline myself, I’m annoyed. I don’t want to see the steel frame of the story—I just want the story. If I can pick apart the story while I’m reading it, it’s bad writing. Here’s the perfect example of what I mean: Now that Dipshit has suddenly and with no warning assumed management of her parent’s horse farm (this includes stabling the horses, exercising the horses, employing stable hands and a trainer who gives riding lessons), she is under more stress. Her daughter, who has been around horses since she was a child and knows them very well, began volunteering with the local veterinarian (who also happens to be Dipshit’s high school hottie sweetie) to care for rescued horses. One day, when Dipshit is dealing with a demanding client (whose complaint could have been easily dealt with and smoothed over), the hottie vet drives back with her daughter and it’s clear there’s a problem. Dipshit, instead of professionally and politely telling Demanding Client that she has a family emergency and she’ll be right back, yells at the woman to shut up, thus pissing her off. So what was the big deal? Oh, yeah, Hottie caught Eva smoking in the barn. Anyone who works around horses or livestock in general knows this is a bad idea (for readers who don’t know: large quantities of stored hay and staw + burning matches/cigarettes = fire) and I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, but really? Eva now suddenly is a smoker? And she’s smoking around the rescued foals she’s been so happy to take care of? I don’t believe it. This is the poorly constructed plot device—Gruen wants to put the stables in a dire financial situation. How to do this? Well, cause an important client to leave suddenly. Why does the important client leave suddenly? Because Dipshit is unprofessional with the important client. How does that happen? Insert artificial plot device—Eva, who loves horses and has been around stables her whole life, suddenly decides to smoke in a barn. This is bad writing. Why not just let it happen organically? From what I can see of Dipshit and how poorly she is handling everything in her life, it wouldn’t surprise anyone (except maybe Dipshit) if clients left due to her pisspoor management of the stables. But the author apparently needed the stables to be financially insecure right now (for some other aspect of the plot to fall in place—I won’t know because I’ve stopped reading this crappy novel) so she had to artificially force it. I call a foul on you, Gruen. The other big plot of the book is the new horse she buys from Hottie. He rescued the horse because it looks a lot like Harry, the horse who died in her bad riding accident twenty or so years ago. She suspects the horse is Harry’s brother, even though that horse supposedly died in a gruesome fire. She’s obsessed with this to the point of looking like a nutjob. It’s also kinda like…is this important? I mean, in the grand scheme of your life right now, is discovering the true identity of this horse so important? Because I’m pretty sure Dipshit is going to come out smelling like roses by the end of this book, she’s probably right and something dishonest and evil went down with the horse’s previous owner. But no fear, she’ll fix the farm, divorce her cheating husband, make her daughter her new BFF, and marry one of the hotties (the other is the French pony-tailed trainer Jean-Claude. Yes, that really is his name: insert giggles here). As for the horsey aspect of this craptastic novel, Gruen gets a better review. I love horses. Love, love, love. I’ve never gotten over my girly crush on them and I’ve taking riding lessons (English style, no less) and I’ve volunteered at a rescue farm that took in took in all sorts of animals, not just horses. So much of her descriptions of the stables and the rescued horses does ring true to me—I’ve helped take care of horses that were neglected and abused and it’s horrible to see and heart-rending sad and makes me so angry I’d like to do to the owners what they did to their animals, so I get that part of the book. And when Dipshit says that she loves the smell of horses, I get that too. Horses have the best smell in the world. There’s nothing like working with horses. If I could manage it financially, I’d quit my idiot job and spend all day mucking out stalls for free and consider myself lucky. So, that’s the only part of the novel that strikes me as honest—Gruen’s descriptions of the horses and the stables and the feel of a horse and the intense and unreasonable love for horses. But other novels do it better, so I’d rather re-read Molly Gloss’s The Hearts of Horses or Walter Farley’s The Black Stallion series. Those are better books.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    So it was hard for me to like the main character, Annemarie Zimmer. Even a little bit. She’s self-centered, socially inept, and she flies off the handle at the slightest provocation. She’s a walking nightmare, and yet she’s not a complete lost cause. She does try, however miserably, and she always ends up failing, but there’s something to be said for effort, right? There is something to be said for the tragic character, and in many respects that’s exactly what Annemarie is. And if it hadn’t been So it was hard for me to like the main character, Annemarie Zimmer. Even a little bit. She’s self-centered, socially inept, and she flies off the handle at the slightest provocation. She’s a walking nightmare, and yet she’s not a complete lost cause. She does try, however miserably, and she always ends up failing, but there’s something to be said for effort, right? There is something to be said for the tragic character, and in many respects that’s exactly what Annemarie is. And if it hadn’t been for Sara Gruen’s deft hand, RIDING LESSONS might have been lacking. In fact, I might have turned away completely. But I didn’t. My fingers pressed against my Kindle, as I turned page after electronic page, and I began to realize that Annemarie—at least to a certain extent—was a victim of her own circumstances, those from her past and those she had yet to face. She may not have been able to completely save herself, or her daughter, or in some cases even her family, but she was broken and flawed and she popped right off of the page as real as life itself. Sometimes that’s what we need to see in life. And I was okay with that. If you enjoy engaging reads with characters you may not totally enjoy or completely agree with, you might enjoy this one well enough. If not, you may want to set your sights elsewhere. Cross-posted at Robert's Reads

  5. 5 out of 5

    treehugger

    I DEVOURED this book - from start to finish it took me about 3 days, and I'm almost through with its sequel. It's a new take on an old theme - horses, illegal activities, danger, mystery, romance, and riding, riding, riding! I couldn't tear my eyes away from the descriptions of the horses and the tack and the general horsey-life I left behind so many years before. And I have to admit, as I read "Flying Changes", the sequel, I continue to have pangs of jealousy and regret at not reaching the leve I DEVOURED this book - from start to finish it took me about 3 days, and I'm almost through with its sequel. It's a new take on an old theme - horses, illegal activities, danger, mystery, romance, and riding, riding, riding! I couldn't tear my eyes away from the descriptions of the horses and the tack and the general horsey-life I left behind so many years before. And I have to admit, as I read "Flying Changes", the sequel, I continue to have pangs of jealousy and regret at not reaching the levels of competition the protagnosists so easily fall into - of course, horsey parents and incredible amounts of money help with this a lot, but, in my heart, I regret choosing against that life of serious competition, training, and teaching in favor of a more normal (and affordable) one of academia and responsible decisions. Oh well, what can you do? I love that I can live vicariously through the eyes of a COMPLETELY bratty (and undeserving, if I do say so myself) teenager and her previously Olympic-hopeful neurotic mom. Hope you enjoy!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Krissy

    I could not stand Annemarie. She was snobby, selfish, unsympathetic, narcissistic and completely useless. Everything she said or did pissed me off. I have no idea whatsoever what Dan saw in her. On the plus side, the narrator of the audiobook did a fantastic job.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Angie

    I really tried to muddle through this one but had to give up about 1/3 of the way through. I've had another Sara Gruen novel, Water for Elephants, highly recommended to me, but it'll take a lot of convincing to get me to read it after this one! (Not that anyone cares enough about this to try to convince me...:-) To me, it read like one big cliche. Woman has horrible riding accident and loses beloved horse (which has an unusual white brindle pattern that was described as "striped" often enough to I really tried to muddle through this one but had to give up about 1/3 of the way through. I've had another Sara Gruen novel, Water for Elephants, highly recommended to me, but it'll take a lot of convincing to get me to read it after this one! (Not that anyone cares enough about this to try to convince me...:-) To me, it read like one big cliche. Woman has horrible riding accident and loses beloved horse (which has an unusual white brindle pattern that was described as "striped" often enough to make me picture a zebra). Decides never to ride again or really even see her parents anymore. Flash forward to her very monotonous life with her husband (former high-school sweetheart) and inexplicably troubled teenage daughter. All on the same day, the woman loses her job, learns that her husband is leaving her for a younger woman, and discovers her father is dying of Lou Gehrig's disease. She packs up resentful, troubled daughter and heads home for the first time in years. The woman is selfishly bothered rather than relieved when her angst-ridden teen starts to connect with grandma. Enter the wise, French horse trainer (Jean-Luc); the handsome local veterinarian (a former flame); and a wild, troubled, horse that looks eerily like the horse she lost years ago... That's about when I threw in the towel.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kerry (The Roaming Librarian) O'Donnell

    I was intrigued by this book, because I've heard such great things about the author (this is the lady who wrote Water for Elephants) and was curious as to her writing style. I ended up finding it a bit jarring, but perhaps I'm not used to the first person account (though I've never had this much of a problem with it before). The story itself was interesting, though some parts seemed a bit too easily fixed. What I mean by that is that the main character gets herself into soooooo much trouble and I was intrigued by this book, because I've heard such great things about the author (this is the lady who wrote Water for Elephants) and was curious as to her writing style. I ended up finding it a bit jarring, but perhaps I'm not used to the first person account (though I've never had this much of a problem with it before). The story itself was interesting, though some parts seemed a bit too easily fixed. What I mean by that is that the main character gets herself into soooooo much trouble and then things seem to magically work out in her favor. As a character, she was very real, the situation...the jury's still out. Her character, I loved though. She was quite the alcoholic, never admitted it, but you count the number of times she was drinking or drunk and you would know it. She can't control her teenage daughter, neglected her husband until he left her, nearly destroyed her parents business, and refused to come to terms with the fact that her father had a degenerative, terminal disease and as a result, never says a proper goodbye to him. Very screwed up, and very real. Oh, and she's obsessed with a horse. Now, all the trouble that she gets into gets fixed almost entirely by everyone else around her. All in all, interesting, but umm, perhaps not the best novel I've ever read.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kelsey Burnette

    I loved Water for Elephants, and so decided to read another book by Sara Gruen. I'm certainly not giving up on her, but this book was nowhere near the quality. A lot of it I ended up just skimming because it was just so obvious and contrived. For example, the scene where the main character decides to make dinner for the new man in her life--of course, she can't cook but decides to make something incredibly complicated--and gee, what a surprise, she fails miserably, but she and her man end up hav I loved Water for Elephants, and so decided to read another book by Sara Gruen. I'm certainly not giving up on her, but this book was nowhere near the quality. A lot of it I ended up just skimming because it was just so obvious and contrived. For example, the scene where the main character decides to make dinner for the new man in her life--of course, she can't cook but decides to make something incredibly complicated--and gee, what a surprise, she fails miserably, but she and her man end up having a good ol' romantic time because darn it, she is just so cute. This was actually funny when it happened to Bridget Jones (I mean, who can resist blue soup?), but this attempt fell far short. Ugh. I know, I know, everyone's a critic, and I have not managed to actually write or publish any books of my own, so shut up. I think I'm just bitter that I managed to pick such a dud for my first Kindle purchase. I think I'm going back to the library and will only pay for the download if I'm certain I love it!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Pretty close to making this a "DNF". I picked it up because I loved the author's book "Like Water For Elephants"but this book is not bringing me that same level of enjoyment. I am not certain if it is the book or the person reading it, but I dislike both the main character Annemarie and her Daughter, Eva. Both seem to be in perpetual states of anger - shrieky anger. Some of that may be the person reading who, the actress is just driving me up a wall. Everything is overdramatic. Annemarie and her Pretty close to making this a "DNF". I picked it up because I loved the author's book "Like Water For Elephants"but this book is not bringing me that same level of enjoyment. I am not certain if it is the book or the person reading it, but I dislike both the main character Annemarie and her Daughter, Eva. Both seem to be in perpetual states of anger - shrieky anger. Some of that may be the person reading who, the actress is just driving me up a wall. Everything is overdramatic. Annemarie and her daughter seem pretty one dimension. I just want to shake Annemarie and say "No wonder your husband ditched you and your daughter divorced you. You're immature and whiny." She reacts with anger to everything, everything, her daughter does. You'd think by the time her daughter reached 15 Annemarie would have developed a little more patience. The male lead could use a bit more personality and backbone. Annemarie dumped him 20 years ago to marry her bad boy boyfriend. She's divorced so he takes her back no questinos asked, no apologies made. Boy these people are annoying. Mutti (the grandmother), I like. The horses I like. The rest of these people - ACK!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Laura Kilmartin

    I was torn while reading this book because I found the main character thoroughly unlikeable. Every action she took was so obviously a plot device - I could see the consequences of her bad judgment coming a mile away and thought it was unbelievable and insulting to the reader that a character would act in such an obviously illogical manner. That said and main character aside, the writing itself was phenomenal. I sat up until 1am this morning finishing the book because I just didn't want to put it I was torn while reading this book because I found the main character thoroughly unlikeable. Every action she took was so obviously a plot device - I could see the consequences of her bad judgment coming a mile away and thought it was unbelievable and insulting to the reader that a character would act in such an obviously illogical manner. That said and main character aside, the writing itself was phenomenal. I sat up until 1am this morning finishing the book because I just didn't want to put it down. This is the same author who wrote Water for Elephants which was one of the best books I read last year. I found the same delight in her descriptions, turns of phrase and the way she made me want to keep reading. Unfortunately, while I found the characters in Elephant to be interesting and imperfect, making human mistakes as they navigated their lives, AnneMarie in Riding Lessons was nothing but a caricature of a harried, middle-aged divorcee.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. While it is obvious that Ms. Gruen has done some research on horses and equestrian activities, unfortunately the book reads somewhat like a checklist of her research findings. Because of this, I probably would have enjoyed the book much more if I were not an equestrian myself, since for me, the holes in the equine aspects of the story made the book as a whole less enjoyable. The book opens with the terrible jumping accident that killed her beloved horse and nearly left her paralyzed, and the acci While it is obvious that Ms. Gruen has done some research on horses and equestrian activities, unfortunately the book reads somewhat like a checklist of her research findings. Because of this, I probably would have enjoyed the book much more if I were not an equestrian myself, since for me, the holes in the equine aspects of the story made the book as a whole less enjoyable. The book opens with the terrible jumping accident that killed her beloved horse and nearly left her paralyzed, and the accident would be believable if it weren't for the list of the horse's fatal injuries: "...Harry's long pastern--the largest of the three bones between his hoof and foreleg--shattered into nine pieces." (This is believable, what follows is not): "His scapula, sternum, and pelvis were broken as well, but it was the pastern that clinched it." It appears that Ms. Gruen flipped through a horse anatomy book and picked out names of bones--it is simply not likely or reasonable that a seasoned jumper would sustain all of those injuries. The broken pastern would have been enough to require the horse to be put down. Harry was also "striped," indicating a very very rare brindle patterning in the coat. Another very far fetched element. Something else that is highly improbable is when the trainer, Jean-Claude, mounts a lesson horse at the family's stable, and proceeds to perform a series of dressage moves, which include a piaffe, which is believable, and then a capriole. A capriole is a very advanced dressage move performed by Lipizzan stallions in the tradition of warhorses--for a lesson horse at a training stable to perform the move is absurd. It made me think that Gruen attended a performance of the Lipizzan stallions, kept the program, and flipped through it to find elements for her book, no matter how far fetched. Another disappointment for me as an equestrian came from her lack of knowledge about rodeo events, when her love interest and veterinarian rescues an Arabian from being tripped at Mexican rodeos, and the vet goes on to state how it can't really be banned since "cattle tripping" is held at most rodeos. I live in the West, have been to many rodeos, and have never heard of or seen an event known as "cattle tripping." There are roping events, but the least Gruen could have done is find out the correct names of the events. Gruen's activism steps in, and a sense of preachiness seeps in when the main character's daughter, Eva, throws a fit about the production of the replacement hormone, Premarin, which is made from pregnant mare urine. Writers have a certain obligation to make sure, even in fiction, that their subject matter is portrayed realistically, since most people's only exposure to things like FBI intrigue or equestrian events are only through the fiction books they read. Putting incorrect or improbable information out, even in the form of fiction, is irresponsible. Determined to not let these missteps deter me completely, as I very much enjoyed "Water For Elephants," I kept reading. I may as well have not, since the writing is not spectacular, and the plot and characters are reminiscent of those in a Harlequin romance. The characters are all disappointingly flat, and the plot, while eventful (too eventful), was the stuff of made-for-TV movies, making the entire fiasco seem more of a puppet show for Gruen's pet causes than anything else. After "Water For Elephants," I would have expected much, much better of Gruen than this. Skip it!

  13. 4 out of 5

    stephanie

    *re-reading 10/12* oh, horses. i do love them. the writing stood up, which was nice to see. i love the idea of harry, of eve and flicka . . . mutti and - i wish there was more resolution with regards to annemarie and pappa. i still didn't like how that ended. i don't feel like there was peace. i wanted her to bring him to the stall with his carrots. i liked jean-phillipe better. of course, i went out and rode my horse after finishing this. someday he might be balanced enough to complete even a tr *re-reading 10/12* oh, horses. i do love them. the writing stood up, which was nice to see. i love the idea of harry, of eve and flicka . . . mutti and - i wish there was more resolution with regards to annemarie and pappa. i still didn't like how that ended. i don't feel like there was peace. i wanted her to bring him to the stall with his carrots. i liked jean-phillipe better. of course, i went out and rode my horse after finishing this. someday he might be balanced enough to complete even a training level dressage test! ;) * first read: july 1, 2007 uh, so yeah, i kind of got side-tracked when i realized gruen had written books about horses. this is the story of annemarie, who was an olympic caliber eventer at 18, before a horrible accident. but more, it's kind of a coming of age story for a woman who was allowed to escape. gruen's writing is so fluid and smooth, the story just keeps moving. it's equal parts mystery, chicklit, and quality fiction, with a good dose of horse in there. it just left me with a good feeling, and not like it was too pat or ridiculous, like so many beach blonde books. it was a happy ending, but it was somehow believable. i might be biased though, because most people reading would gloss over the description of the horse doing a piaffe and canter pirouttes, my mind could visualize it so clearly.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    Book #21 o 2009 What can I say... I was reading the book and enjoying it and then I just had to go on Amazon to see what the other reviews said and once I read those, that's all I could think about when I went back to reading it. But - what I did like: the imagery. Chapter after chapter I could picture the horses, the barns, the riding lessons, the tack room, the stalls... I even imagined the trainer to look like the one I had in High School. In one of the chapters, describing a riding lesson, I Book #21 o 2009 What can I say... I was reading the book and enjoying it and then I just had to go on Amazon to see what the other reviews said and once I read those, that's all I could think about when I went back to reading it. But - what I did like: the imagery. Chapter after chapter I could picture the horses, the barns, the riding lessons, the tack room, the stalls... I even imagined the trainer to look like the one I had in High School. In one of the chapters, describing a riding lesson, I could totally see myself on the horse, trainer walking beside me, telling me to post on the opposite diagonal. It was all familar to me, and so very easy for me to imagine. What I wasn't so fond of: The main character is a bit annoying. She had an accident at 18 which pretty much defines her life for the next 20 years... she continually runs from the reality of what happened and from having to move on from that. And... she really screws things up about 1/2-3/4 way into the book. And then that part is a struggle to get through because, but the end does get better. All in all, not a bad read, and enjoyable for me if for no other reason than it takes me back to my days of riding when I was in High School. I own this book

  15. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    This is a book you'll either love or hate. I haven't seen a reader review that was lukewarm...either the book was highly praised or villified. I really liked it. I thought Annemarie Zimmer was a wonderful character. She is so completely self-absorbed and in dire need of a good therapist. I found her absolute inability to cope with life hysterical (and her inner self-talk is downright funny...especially her first cooking-for-the-new-boyfriend date with Dan.) On the more serious side, Annemarie has This is a book you'll either love or hate. I haven't seen a reader review that was lukewarm...either the book was highly praised or villified. I really liked it. I thought Annemarie Zimmer was a wonderful character. She is so completely self-absorbed and in dire need of a good therapist. I found her absolute inability to cope with life hysterical (and her inner self-talk is downright funny...especially her first cooking-for-the-new-boyfriend date with Dan.) On the more serious side, Annemarie has serious parental issues and real grievances against her parents, and these aren't resolved at the end of the book. So, if you like tidy endings with a beautiful red bow, you're not going to get that. Furthermore, Annemarie is not a competant parent. The issues with Eva (the daughter) are so sad and a constant source of frustration to her. Gruen is a good writer. I got lost in her prose, dialogue and story-telling abilities. Note: it does not have the earthy senuality of Water for Elephants, but that does not make the book G-rated. I'll pick up the sequel sometime this summer.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    When I saw that Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephants, had other works, I was excited. I really enjoyed Water, and had high hopes for this book, the first of a two-part series. Uggh, what a disappointment . . . In Riding Lessons, we meet Annemarie Zimmer, a former Olympic-class equestrian competitor whose tragic accident twenty years prior ruined her career. She is now 38 and her life is falling apart. At first you may feel pity for her as she loses her job, her teenage daughter gets expelled When I saw that Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephants, had other works, I was excited. I really enjoyed Water, and had high hopes for this book, the first of a two-part series. Uggh, what a disappointment . . . In Riding Lessons, we meet Annemarie Zimmer, a former Olympic-class equestrian competitor whose tragic accident twenty years prior ruined her career. She is now 38 and her life is falling apart. At first you may feel pity for her as she loses her job, her teenage daughter gets expelled from school and her husband leaves her for another woman. Annemarie returns home to her parents hose farm in New Hampshire where her father is dying. Can it get any worse for her? Yep, just about every imaginable heartache is lumped on. But not all of it is unavoidable. Annemarie’s own selfishness and immaturity causes everything she touches to fall to pieces. Ah, but don’t worry, the author gives her a happy little ending anyway! Really???? The characters are basically flat and predictable. And since the author felt the need to explore all life’s challenges in one book, we have medical and legal issues, divorce, mother-daughter strife, romance, racism, ageism, feminism . . . you name it. Don’t use your precious reading hours for this one!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rhianon

    For me, the redeeming quality of this book was found in the horses. Gruen's portrayal of equine characters through the eyes of the human MC was authentic and spot-on. If nothing else, she did butt-loads of research -- but I'd like to step out on a limb (without knowing anything about the author) and venture a guess that she has at some point spent a less-than-healthy amount of time around the animals (in the opinion of a sane individual, which I am not). Having done so myself, the quality of the For me, the redeeming quality of this book was found in the horses. Gruen's portrayal of equine characters through the eyes of the human MC was authentic and spot-on. If nothing else, she did butt-loads of research -- but I'd like to step out on a limb (without knowing anything about the author) and venture a guess that she has at some point spent a less-than-healthy amount of time around the animals (in the opinion of a sane individual, which I am not). Having done so myself, the quality of the descriptions was sufficient to drag me in and pull me through the story, even though the MC started to seriously grate on my nerves after a bit. I wanted to know what happened to the horse and to hell with the rest of it. Don't know that I will bother with the sequel any time soon, and this one read wasn't near enough to make me a Gruen fan. Yes it was a touching and emotional read ... but while I'm all for MC's with flaws who have internal struggles throughout the course of the story, there is a fine line where a character's flaws begin to grate on the nerves.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Caitlin Maxwell

    Honestly, I thought that this book was terrible. I sincerely hope that Water for Elephants is nothing like this, because if it is, I have no clue how it became a bestseller. The main character is what did it for me. I was expecting to read about a mom who, yes, was going through difficulties with her family, daughter, etc, but who still had some backbone at least. Annemarie definitely did not display anything like that, throughout the whole novel. She was no better than a teenager, and honestly, Honestly, I thought that this book was terrible. I sincerely hope that Water for Elephants is nothing like this, because if it is, I have no clue how it became a bestseller. The main character is what did it for me. I was expecting to read about a mom who, yes, was going through difficulties with her family, daughter, etc, but who still had some backbone at least. Annemarie definitely did not display anything like that, throughout the whole novel. She was no better than a teenager, and honestly, I thought her rebellious teenage daughter handled things, for the most part, better than Annemarie did. She whined and complained throughout the whole novel, and I was pretty sure that the story was going to end with her being diagnosed with a mental health problem, because she was a complete psycho at some points. Her not having a mental health issue was the one part of the novel that really surprised me. Perhaps if that part of the story had been better written, I would have like Riding Lessons more, but because of how much I disliked the narrator, it ruined the rest of the novel for me.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lacy

    I read this because I'd loved Water for Elephants SO MUCH that I felt an overwhelming need to read other things written by the author. On the plus side, I can say that it's obvious that Gruen has grown tremendously as a writer, because Elephants I read this because I'd loved Water for Elephants SO MUCH that I felt an overwhelming need to read other things written by the author. On the plus side, I can say that it's obvious that Gruen has grown tremendously as a writer, because Elephants

  20. 5 out of 5

    Samantha (WLABB)

    Me and women's fiction don't always work, because it tends to be heavier than I like, and I think that was one of the problems with this book. This woman just kept taking the hits, and at first, I was sympathetic, but then her bitterness began to wear on me. Maybe if there had been some more levity built in the story as she unpacked her baggage, I would have kept being on Anne Marie's side, but it was tough. She eventually did have her moment of enlightenment, but it was really late in the story Me and women's fiction don't always work, because it tends to be heavier than I like, and I think that was one of the problems with this book. This woman just kept taking the hits, and at first, I was sympathetic, but then her bitterness began to wear on me. Maybe if there had been some more levity built in the story as she unpacked her baggage, I would have kept being on Anne Marie's side, but it was tough. She eventually did have her moment of enlightenment, but it was really late in the story. I was invested enough to finish though, because I kept hoping Gruen would give this poor woman a break. The ending was good, and I enjoyed the horse stuff, but not enough to erase all the heavy/sad stuff that came before it. BLOG | INSTAGRAM |TWITTER | BLOGLOVIN | FRIEND ME ON GOODREADS

  21. 4 out of 5

    CindySlowReader#GimmeDatVac!

    no rating DNF at chapter 6. Not connecting with any of the characters at all, especially sullen teen daughter, ugh.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Beth Cato

    I bought this book because I loved Water for Elephants, but I think my expectations were too high.[return][return]I was horse-obsessed as a kid. This is a book about a woman who loves horses, and who lost her beloved horse in a tragic accident 20 years before and is still living with the consequences. It sounds like a good match. However, the heroine, Annemarie, is completely unlikeable. She's mean, petty and selfish, and drags everyone down with her. Her husband leaves her for another woman, sh I bought this book because I loved Water for Elephants, but I think my expectations were too high.[return][return]I was horse-obsessed as a kid. This is a book about a woman who loves horses, and who lost her beloved horse in a tragic accident 20 years before and is still living with the consequences. It sounds like a good match. However, the heroine, Annemarie, is completely unlikeable. She's mean, petty and selfish, and drags everyone down with her. Her husband leaves her for another woman, she is fired, and she returns to her parents' riding school to find her father is suffering from ALS. Oh, and her teenage daughter is an absolute witch. I kept reading with the hope that Annemarie would mature as a character and she did - at the very end. By then I was skimming through the book trying to make it end as fast as possible.[return][return]The writing is good, and Gruen again excels at writing about abused animals and the recovery they can make with love and patience. I understood that Gruen was trying to make Annemarie completely human and flawed. She did a very good job of that. The problem was that Annemarie didn't really have any redeeming qualities, and I knew if I met her in person she would be just as cold and condescending towards me.[return][return]I will not be buying the sequel.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    probably would've rated less if i wasn't such a sucker for all the horse prose. of which there wasn't even ask that much. Annemarie's constant overwroughtness makes her a less than ideal narrator and makes it difficult for a reader to really absorb/process each of the problems she's got going on (kid, horse, divorce, new relationship, dying parent, failing family business, identity crisis, the whole book with the exception of her scenes with her mother feels like someone running around with thei probably would've rated less if i wasn't such a sucker for all the horse prose. of which there wasn't even ask that much. Annemarie's constant overwroughtness makes her a less than ideal narrator and makes it difficult for a reader to really absorb/process each of the problems she's got going on (kid, horse, divorce, new relationship, dying parent, failing family business, identity crisis, the whole book with the exception of her scenes with her mother feels like someone running around with their hair on fire). the plot is pretty formulaic, and for all the text she spends waxing rhapsodic about the horse(s) we get very little actual action / interaction with the animals themselves. i know, not every book about horses has to be all about the horses, but it would've been interesting to see a little more of Annemarie's relationship with the horses and a little less frantic shouting. it's good to see that Gruen refined her skill with Water For Elephants, where you get a much clearer dense of just how well she can write human-animal relationships as well as human-human, not to mention a much less stilted plot flow. still glad i didn't read this one first.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jillian

    Oye. I loved Water for Elephants, so thought picking up another book by Sara Gruen would be a safe bet. What a disappointment. The story was totally implausible, the main character was extremely and unbearably annoying, and despite the mess that the main character made of everything, POOF! It was all fixed by the end of the book. The main character annoyed me so much that I didn't want her problems to be fixed. I had an uncomfortable feeling of almost wanting her to fail (which is very unlike me Oye. I loved Water for Elephants, so thought picking up another book by Sara Gruen would be a safe bet. What a disappointment. The story was totally implausible, the main character was extremely and unbearably annoying, and despite the mess that the main character made of everything, POOF! It was all fixed by the end of the book. The main character annoyed me so much that I didn't want her problems to be fixed. I had an uncomfortable feeling of almost wanting her to fail (which is very unlike me) as she was so selfish and self-centered that failing might have snapped her out of it. But, the author preyed on my love of animals to make me want a happy ending - my love for horses pulled at my heartstrings, and the only way for them to have a happy ending was for the main character to, also. Long story short: don't bother with this book. This is now the third time that I have loved a book, picked up another book by the same author thinking it would be good, and been disappointed. From now on, I am reading reviews before picking up a book!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    I recently lost two afternoons of potential farm work due to a fabulous gut-wrencher of a horsey novel: Riding Lessons, by Sara Gruen. Sara is much more famous for Water for Elephants, her New York Times bestseller. I never got around to reading it and all six of the local copies were checked out, so I suppose it’s still quite popular. But this book – oh, it is unapologetic in its horsiness. She could have dumbed it down and made it a bestseller, perhaps, and I love her so much for keeping it tech I recently lost two afternoons of potential farm work due to a fabulous gut-wrencher of a horsey novel: Riding Lessons, by Sara Gruen. Sara is much more famous for Water for Elephants, her New York Times bestseller. I never got around to reading it and all six of the local copies were checked out, so I suppose it’s still quite popular. But this book – oh, it is unapologetic in its horsiness. She could have dumbed it down and made it a bestseller, perhaps, and I love her so much for keeping it technical. You’ll just have to know the difference between French and German dressage, won’t you, if you want to understand why the new trainer has such an impact on the main character, and if you can’t decipher why she would have preferred the bit wasn’t a slow twist, well you’ll just have to wonder forever. Or take the effort to google it. see it all! http://retiredracehorseblog.wordpress...

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

    Annemarie Zimmer had been a gifted equestrian, Olympic quality, when at 18 she and her beloved horse Harry had a devastating jumping accident. Annemarie spent months in the hospital learning to walk again and Harry's injuries were beyond repair; the beautiful brindled horse had to be destroyed. Annemarie vowed she would never ride again and as soon as she graduated high school she moved away from her parent's horse farm. Now, at 38 years old, Annemarie just had a day that rivals the horrible cir Annemarie Zimmer had been a gifted equestrian, Olympic quality, when at 18 she and her beloved horse Harry had a devastating jumping accident. Annemarie spent months in the hospital learning to walk again and Harry's injuries were beyond repair; the beautiful brindled horse had to be destroyed. Annemarie vowed she would never ride again and as soon as she graduated high school she moved away from her parent's horse farm. Now, at 38 years old, Annemarie just had a day that rivals the horrible circumstances of the accident: she has just been laid-off from her editing job, her husband has told her he is leaving her for another woman, and her mother has just called with the news that Annemarie's father is dying from ALS. With her 15 year old daughter Eva in tow, Annemarie heads back to New Hampshire and the hated horse farm. Annemarie feels that the best way to help her parents is to take over the management of the farm leaving her mother able to be with her husband as much as possible. Unfortunately, Annemarie's outspoken personality soon has customers removing their horses from the boarding facility and their children from the riding school. Soon the farm is bleeding money and Annemarie cannot keep the business going much longer. Then, a beautiful brindle horse is brought to the farm by Annemarie's one-time boyfriend Dan, a dedicated veterinarian. The horse looks so much like the long departed Harry that Annemarie becomes obsessed with him. As she researches the horse's history, Annemarie stumbles across a mystery and what is possibly a crime. The story is not bad but Annemarie is not a terribly likable woman. Certainly she had a difficult time in her past but she seems a bit self-absorbed. Her relationship with her teen daughter is contentious; with her parents, chilly and dismissive. The mystery of the horse is a good one and the fate of Annemarie's father is both shocking and unresolved.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mrs. Clay

    I was drawn to this book because of two topics: horses and romance. The fact that the main character was close to my age was a bonus, and I was delighted that the author seemed to have an extensive knowledge of competitive riding due to such detailed descriptions involving the care and riding of horses. For about 70% of the book, I was drawn into Annemarie's life and its many complications. Yes, it seemed at times that things were unraveling, but just as she stated, sometimes life is like watchi I was drawn to this book because of two topics: horses and romance. The fact that the main character was close to my age was a bonus, and I was delighted that the author seemed to have an extensive knowledge of competitive riding due to such detailed descriptions involving the care and riding of horses. For about 70% of the book, I was drawn into Annemarie's life and its many complications. Yes, it seemed at times that things were unraveling, but just as she stated, sometimes life is like watching dominoes fall one after another. I was loving and flying through this book until chapter 15. (view spoiler)[ Up to this point, I thought that Annemarie's life was more than terrible luck, and I sympathized with her as one disaster struck after another (even though I had a difficult time relating to most of her troubles). However, the next disaster down the line, which involved her father's death, was just one too many for me, especially in how it came about. I felt that even though I didn't know much about Annemarie's mother as a character, her decision seemed somewhat unlikely, especially her method. Worst of all, that plot complication seemed to go nowhere, so why did it have to happen that way? (hide spoiler)] All of a sudden, that pivotal moment in chapter 15 took away the believable nature of the plot for me. Unfortunately, that wasn't the only moment where something occurred and my reaction was "are you kidding?" I mainly kept reading to see what happened with Dan and with Hurrah. Other than that, I had lost interest in Annemarie's other problems. I didn't mind that so much of the later chapters focused more on her thought patterns than action. Even though the ending was somewhat satisfactory (and pretty predictable), I still felt let down as a reader.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Shaun

    At the risk of bringing a hellstorm of fire and feminism down upon my head, Sara Gruen demonstrates a tremendous grasp of the best and worst aspects of the male and female genders. I did not like Annemarie Zimmer, the main character. She is not a bad person. But she possesses the same personality flaws that many of the past women in my life have possessed to varying degrees. She's manipulative, excessively emotional (and thus illogical), vindictive, and impossibly stressful to interact with on a At the risk of bringing a hellstorm of fire and feminism down upon my head, Sara Gruen demonstrates a tremendous grasp of the best and worst aspects of the male and female genders. I did not like Annemarie Zimmer, the main character. She is not a bad person. But she possesses the same personality flaws that many of the past women in my life have possessed to varying degrees. She's manipulative, excessively emotional (and thus illogical), vindictive, and impossibly stressful to interact with on a daily basis. TLDR: Ugh! Women! Gruen has mens' number too though. Roger is willing to abandon his responsibilities and even his vows before God to chase after some little twenty year old kid. MAJOR SPOILER: (view spoiler)[Ian brutally maims, murders and tortures innocent horses for insurance money and the justice system barely even slaps him on the wrist for it. (hide spoiler)] Men can be cowardly, predatory, sniveling brutes. The annoying main character did not ruin the book though. She just made it more believable. Annemarie Zimmer could absolutely exist. There are billions of women in the world quite similar to her. Again, she's not evil or bad. She's just excessively emotional and she makes a mess of everything. This is starting to sound like a misogynist rant and I didn't mean for it to come out that way. Soooooooo do you like horsies? This book has horsies!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Let me start by saying I basically enjoyed this book even though it hit a raw nerve for me. I know conflict is what keeps a story alive, but it seemed that many of the plot twists were contrived for this purpose. The protagonist’s clever and witty interior monologue often made me smile, but her actions were often frustrating. I am not being a spoiler by letting you know the character’s father was suffering form ALS. This is revealed in the first three chapters that set up the rest of the story. Let me start by saying I basically enjoyed this book even though it hit a raw nerve for me. I know conflict is what keeps a story alive, but it seemed that many of the plot twists were contrived for this purpose. The protagonist’s clever and witty interior monologue often made me smile, but her actions were often frustrating. I am not being a spoiler by letting you know the character’s father was suffering form ALS. This is revealed in the first three chapters that set up the rest of the story. My own father endured this dreadful condition. The way this character responded to that circumstance felt cowardly to me. Still, there are many life lessons to be learned in what is essentially a very fine effort my Sara Gruen

  30. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Barry

    This is a story of a young lady who is top notch equestrian with her eyes on the Olympics Her world comes crashing down when a jumping accident leaves her scarred and her cherished horse dead. She comes home to her father's terminally ill horse farm. Alone in the world but for her troubled daughter she returns to the scene of her accident. Waiting is a gentle veterinarian who she adored as a girl, a trainer with a knack and a gelding that resembles her beloved horse of her youth. Somewhat predic This is a story of a young lady who is top notch equestrian with her eyes on the Olympics Her world comes crashing down when a jumping accident leaves her scarred and her cherished horse dead. She comes home to her father's terminally ill horse farm. Alone in the world but for her troubled daughter she returns to the scene of her accident. Waiting is a gentle veterinarian who she adored as a girl, a trainer with a knack and a gelding that resembles her beloved horse of her youth. Somewhat predictable, but a decent read.

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