THROWN by Colette Auclair
Pocket Star/Simon and Schuster
E-Book 384 pages
E-Galley provided by publisher via Net Galley for review purposes. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own.
In this lighthearted and sexy romance, a young woman must choose between winning a competition—and the man who has won her heart.
Professional horse trainer Amanda Vogel dreams of riding jumpers in the Olympics, but after seeing her best friend die in a riding accident, she’s so traumatized she can’t compete. Broke and desperate, she takes a summer job in Aspen teaching some big-shot widowed movie star’s spoiled daughters to ride—and braces herself for three miserable months. But the movie star is funny, down-to-earth, and gorgeous—and his spoiled daughters are just desperate for a mother figure. By Labor Day, she has to choose between capturing a gold medal…and the man who has captured her heart. ClaudetteAuClair.com
I really loved this book! It had great, emotional characters who didn’t really fit any mold, who made awful decisions, and who, unlike most of us, readily admitted when they were wrong. It also has great “horse stuff.” Having taken lessons for a while as an adult, I know enough to appreciate the technical aspects of the sport and stable activity. It does get a little specific for the non-horse set when discussing shows and competitions. The two main characters are Grady, a movie star and Amanda an equestrian whose PTSD has taken her off the circuit. The children in the story are Wave and Solstice. I did have an issue with the short time it takes the girls to go from spoiled rotten, entitled, Hollywood hoydens to nice kids who merely needed a little structure and discipline.
This PTSD has nearly ruined her career, and almost her life. I had some very mild symptoms after my husband had an accident, but nothing as big as hers. Have you ever had crippling PTSD?
Auclair’s descriptive abilities come through well, especially with the architecture of her bosses house, barn and the area they live in. Her writing shows an ease with and affection for her characters, as well as a natural writing voice. The internal monologues, in particular are very real as her characters mentally go through hoops to understand themselves and each other.
Grady has a habit of caving to his kid’s demands and jumping to conclusions. He is easily swayed to act rashly, even against his better judgment. He seems down-to-earth, but is a “movie star” and while he doesn’t often play that card on purpose, he does have a tendency to just expect certain deferential behaviors from others. Especially when he is clueless and extra especially in regards to parenting.
Amanda prefers to employ “horse sense” in dealing with difficult people, especially her boss and her kids. She is usually right and it works more often than not. She is good with people.
She also makes spurious assumptions based on stereotypes about Grady’s friend and chef’s sexual orientation based on his knowledge of skin care. Yet, in my experience we all do things like this – depend on cues to tell us about people. The “gay” in question is Harris, and he’s drawn with both stereotypical and what are seen as “non-gay” traits – like enjoying sports. Harris also provides the slap down to his best friend’s sillier, “movie-star” behaviors — he plays the clown, the truth teller and the voice of reason.
I was really taken by the story and it’s contemporary romance with comedy, and drama. The plot is often predictable. Any pet or animal lover will appreciate Amanda’s sense of loss in having had to sell her horse. Towards the end I was brought to tears. It’s really a great debut novel that deserves a chance. At under $2 as an e-book it’s a great bet I can Highly Recommend!
I’m giving away a copy of THROWN for Kindle or Nook. Must be 18 or older and able to accept an Amazon US Kindle book or a B&N US Nook Book. ENDS . RULES ON THE FORM BELOW: