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Riding Lessons

1, Riding Lessons - A Novel

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Description

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

Mar 01, 2004 – Like The Horse Whisperer, Gruen's polished debut is a tale of human healing set against the primal world of horses. The Olympic dreams of teenaged equestrian Annemarie Zimmer end when her beloved horse, Harry, injures her and destroys himself in a jumping accident. In the agonizing aftermath, she gives up riding and horses entirely. Two decades later, she returns to her family's horse farm a divorcee, with her troubled teenaged daughter, Eve, in tow. There, her gruff Germanic mother struggles to maintain the farm and care for Annemarie's father, who is stricken with ALS. Although Annemarie decides (disastrously) to manage the farm's business, her attention quickly turns to an old and ostensibly worthless horse with the same rare coloring as Harry. Her long-denied passion for riding reawakens as she tracks the horse's identity and eventually discovers it to be Harry's younger brother. She must heal both horse and herself as she struggles with her father's deterioration, Eve's rebellion and her attraction to both the farm's new trainer and her childhood sweetheart Dan. Impulsive and self-absorbed, Annemarie isn't always likable, but Gruen's portrait of the stoic elder Zimmers is beautifully nuanced, as is her evocation of Eve's adolescent troubles. Amid this realistically complex generational sandwich, the book's appealing horse scenes—depicted with unsentimental affection—help build a moving story of loss, survival and renewal.

Customer Reviews

Pretty lame

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.

Other Books in This Series

Riding Lessons
View in iTunes
  • $8.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Fiction & Literature
  • Published: Oct 13, 2009
  • Publisher: HarperCollins e-books
  • Seller: HarperCollins
  • Print Length: 416 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Series: 1, Riding Lessons
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings