1, Riding Lessons - A Novel
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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 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.
From Publishers Weekly
© Publishers Weekly
Had just finished Water for Elephants and thoroughly enjoyed it, so decided to read this. Just nowhere near as rich a story.
Don't expect Water for Elephants
It was a little hard to get first the first chapter because I wanted so much for it to be as good as the last book of her and it wasn't. But after the first couple chapters I fell in love with this story as much as the last. Really well written and I can't wait to read the next one.
Absorbing, despite stupid protagonist
Sara Gruen is an excellent writer, or I wouldn't have finished this book. Our heroine is extraordinarily flawed, behaving irresponsibly and displaying a lack of maturity and emotional control that prevents the reader from identifying with her. At one point I almost didn't care what happened to her. Gruen's amazing storytelling ability kept me reading in spite of that.
Another issue I have with Gruen is a problem with pacing. Even if you didn't know what page you're on, you can tell immediately when the story ends as you are pitched into what should be a separate epilogue--as though Gruen has run out of time and, in the last chapter, has to switch from storytelling to reporting in order to meet her publisher's deadline.
All that said, I still recommend Gruen's books because her stories do sweep you into their worlds, and her characters practically leap off the page and become real. If they didn't, I wouldn't have gotten so annoyed with this heroine.