Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Dressage Chronicles Book Two: A matter of finding time to read!

Karen McGoldrick and Gia
Photo by Alicia Frese
People who read BTB regularly know that I'm a big fan of the first Dressage Chronicles novel by Karen McGoldrick. In my last review of Book One I gushed -- and for good reason. Karen McGoldrick (KM) is a real dressage rider who can write, and I'm a "discerning" (picky) reader. I was among the folks who begged her publicly on Facebook to write a sequel, and KM stepped up to the plate. When the second book in the Dressage Chronicles series came out, I could not fill out the order form fast enough.

Horse stories: My share of disappointments
When it comes to horse stories, I have no ability to suspend disbelief. One technical mis-step, and I mentally check out. In War Horse, I was dismayed to see the "newborn foal" looked to be about two months old. In a novel I read recently (one that was not really about horses), a horse trainer was teaching her stallion "the dressage steps." Unlike these posers, KM has established her dressage street cred with her own riding resume -- she's a USDF Gold medalist and "L" judge, and she operates a training facility, Prospect Hill Farm in Alpharetta GA. It's not surprising that she's produced a novel that gives us an utterly realistic, insider perspective of the sport.

Well. Maybe it's juiced up a little -- but in a  good way ;-)

The Dressage Chronicles series is more than just horse stories. KM's writing talent rivals (and surpasses) books from the big publishing houses, at least what I've read while hanging out in airports.  Nowadays most fiction -- even the well-written stuff --  is highly formulaic, with characters are straight from central casting. I've read quite enough about the fiercely independent (always beautiful) female reporter;  the dark mysterious police detective with the murky past;  the wives and husbands in a mid-life crisis; the teen coming of age; blah, blah, blah. The same familiar tropes are trotted out, even if the cover looks different.


The review
Truthfully, I'm about half-way through Book Two, so it's a matter of making time to read before I can write a real review. I'm riding, I'm working, I'm lifting weights, and I'm falling into bed with about 20 minutes of reading time before I nod off. And I have to tell you, it is hard to put this book down, even when I'm exhausted.  My thoughts so far -- I LOVE IT. Lizzy is back and in form. There is no "sequel letdown" in Book Two. Karen is capturing my equestrian wanna-be-diva world, tossing in humor and pixie dust and a handful of shavings, and handing it back to me in a readable, thoughtful, entertaining format. Next go-round, I'll tell you a bit about the plot and how Lizzy's doing. Here's a teaser: Lizzy, working student with Grand Prix aspirations and a talented mare,  has a love interest.

A love interest? No! Lizzy remember your goals!

Stay tuned for part II of my review. If you can't wait and want to buy it now, go to Amazon.com

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