Name of Book: Color My Horse
By: Bev Pettersen
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Copyright Date: 2011
Number of Pages: 293
Format: romantic fiction
Reason for Reading Disclosure: I was given a review copy; however, my opinions are my own.
Source: the author
Jessica Boone’s parents are dead, her Olympic dreams crushed, and her overbearing grandfather refuses to acknowledge her autonomy. Since her skiing career is over thanks to a busted knee, Jessica wants to open a dog grooming business. However, her grandfather insists that she work with him at his investment company. In the end, he makes a deal with her. If she can last the seven weeks at the Belmont racetrack until the Breeder’s Cup, he will front her the money for her business. What Jessica doesn’t know is that her grandfather fully intends for her to fail, the trainer she is working for resents her presence being thrust upon him, and there is some nefarious party loose at the track who means Jessica harm.
I’m not a big romance reader. The extent of my romance book addiction extends to Nora Roberts. (Thanks, mom) However, I stepped outside my comfort zone by accepting this book, and I wasn’t disappointed. Jessica is a strong female character. She is independent, determined, and stubborn. Yet she does bear the scars of growing up under her grandfather’s thumb, which does affect her self-esteem a bit. However, she perseveres. She is a layered character. The romance that unexpectedly (for the characters) blooms is entertaining to witness. Both Mark and Jessica are carrying around some heavy baggage inflicted by their upbringing. This leads to some intense chemistry and a lot of dancing about as they try their best to deny their feelings. It is in turns amusing and annoying watching them misunderstand each other time and again. But the characters are very likeable and definitely grew on me, which made for a heart-swelling ending with big awwww’s, which is what romance novels are for, right?
Pettersen writes knowledgeably about horses, racing, and life at the track. It is always a sign of a good author who can make me care about something I have previously had very little interest in, this instance being horses. I didn’t grow up at the track, but my dad kept horses on our property. My sister and I were tasked with trading off each week to get up early and feed them in the mornings before heading off to school. My sister always loved horses. Me? I was mostly terrified of them. If I dropped the bucket, the horses were out of luck. The alfalfa would have to suffice until my dad got home to get their beloved grains. Seeing the horses gallop straight for me while retrieving the buckets, had me running for the hills.
But, I fell in love with the horses in the story, especially Buddy. Pettersen doesn’t just breathe life into her human characters. The horses had personalities of their own. I wouldn’t want to work at a track or anything, but I have a newfound respect for that particular way of life and everything that goes into training a horse.
The one aspect of the story that I didn’t care for too much was the subplot dealing with the Middle Eastern hitmen. She crafted that bit into the story right from the beginning, but it felt somewhat superfluous and out of place.
A sweet love story about a girl who falls for horses and the man who trains them.