My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
The publisher provided me with a copy of this book to review via NetGalley.
Over the last year I have seen a number of Bev Petterson’s books either shown on blogs or in the book store and while I have always stopped to glance at them, mostly because I was drawn in by the horse on the cover, I had never actually made the effort to pick one up and read it. I did however always make a mental note to make time to read one of these books at some point. So when I had the chance to read and review one of these books I finally decided now was the time, I wanted to see if the cover appeal of the book made it into the store itself.
The book starts with a theft, though Jenna doesn’t consider it theft, and the introduction of the two main characters with a couple of minor characters shortly after. I can’t say that I was instantly drawn into the story but I wasn’t turned off from it either. Instead I kept reading knowing that some books start off slower than others and that in time the story and characters would draw me in more.
While I realize that theft and being a liar were two characteristics that made Jenna who she was I have to admit I didn’t particularly care for her through a large chunk of the story. Yes, I did like how she cared about the animals she worked with, those who were owned by the locals and her own old pony but the fact that she was so easily manipulated by her manager, Wally, for so much of the story really irked me. It’s one thing to want to help those who can’t afford it but it’s another to lie to people and falsify your records to make yourself look better than you are.
Then there was Derek Burke, the new owner of the center Jenna worked at and her love interest as the book progressed. He was rough around the edges, wanting things to be perfect and while he wasn’t a great character I liked him a bit more than I did Jenna. With one big exception, I really hated the fact that he completely ignored the fact that Jenna was lying, even when he knew she was he simply let it go just because she was different than all the other employees who feared him and the fact that he was interested in her. Yes he and Jenna grew on me a bit as the story progressed, but never enough for me to truly feel a connection to them – or really any other character in the story.
There was a good mix of minor characters throughout the book, some had a bigger influence on the story than others. The story itself was entertaining enough, at least it kept me reading, but more because I wanted to see if it would actually lead somewhere than anything else. The growing relationship between Jenna and Derek didn’t really draw me in either. PArt of it was because they were both too much like yo-yo’s with their wants and emotions. While their relationship wasn’t impossible to imagine, people from lower class can and have fallen in love with those of higher class, I just found their relationship too far into left field over all. Especially since she is a liar and he knows it and doesn’t do anything about it.
Overall the story was okay. I can’t say that I ever felt truly drawn into the story or the characters but I did read this one fairly quickly. I would recommend this book because I know there are people who would enjoy it and I do plan on reading another of Bev Petterson’s novels to see if a different story, and more importantly different characters, make a difference to whether I will like the book or not.