It’s been a while since I’ve done a book review, but lately I’ve been asked to read some equestrian novels from some folks and then review. Truth be told, I love equestrian lit. It doesn’t have to be high literature, but if it has horses and a decent plot… I’m sold.
So that being said, today’s book was sent to me to review but the opinions are quite my own.
Honestly, I’m not a romance book fan so when I read the description of Making the Running by Hannah Hooton, I wasn’t sure how much I was going to like it. My overall verdict is that it’s an enjoyable novel with adequate horse content, but if you want to know more read on.
The book is set in the UK and deals with steeple chasing instead of flat racing. I liked that aspect, because it seems like most US books are entirely about flat racing… and that is a bit overdone. I enjoyed reading about new races and festivals I hadn’t heard about before, because they were part of the UK steeple chasing world.
Kate, the main character, is initially much more interested in her job at the track than her love life. She lives with a wholly annoying and irresponsible younger sister and has a decent amount of family baggage to give her character more depth than “I enjoy ponies and men.”
In fact, I do think the author did a good job of giving each main character of the book some depth. There’s a bit more than just the surface for each of the characters, which is thoroughly appreciated by me as a reader.
Plot wise… the overall plot is fairly predictable. When I first started reading, I kind of went “Okay… well X and Y and Y and X” which turned out to be accurate, but the author does throw extra plot lines in as well as some twists at the end. There was enough plot to keep me reading without getting bored or feeling like I needed to speed read to call this book done. Basically, I was pretty entertained from start to finish.
One other positive I’ll note is that for a romance, the book does not have much smut at all. To me, smut usually comes across as juvenile and forced… so I’m not a fan. If you only read romances for the juicy parts, this book may not be for you.
Finally, what about the horse content? There’s a lot of it in this book, and the barn is not just used as a backdrop for romantic scenes. You’ll get training at the track, races at the track, drama with horses and even a dose of OTTB rehab and eventing. Everything seems pretty accurate and natural, so horse lovers should enjoy the equestrian content.
Overall, I enjoyed Making the Running despite not being a romance fan. You can pick it up on Amazon for as low as $4.99. The author, Hannah Hooton, has also written other equestrian novels which you can see at her website. An earlier book, At Long Odds, is currently available for free download via Amazon… so you can try one of her other novels for free if you like!