Looking Forward to Reading More by This Author (Book Review)

Riding Lessons Sara Gruen

"There's no profit in examining the past." ~ Riding Lessons

A couple of fellow bloggers were discussing other novels by this author, when I decided to check her out. Sara Gruen, best known for Water for Elephants, is another new author for me. However, instead of going for her most popular or her latest, The Water's Edge, I decided to read her debut novel, Riding Lessons, published in 2004. 

As those of you who read my reviews regularly know, the two things I look for in a book are characters I can relate to and unpredictability. Riding Lessons has both!

"I was always searching, always seeking the next big thing, because that was the thing that was going to make everything all right again." ~ Annemarie, Riding Lessons

From the very beginning I connected with Annemarie. In fact, even when I wanted to knock her upside the head, I loved her and can't remember the last time I cheered on a character as much. Now 38 and a single-mom of a headstrong teenager (aren't they all), Annemarie returns to her native New Hampshire to help her mother with the running of the family's horse farm. Her father's battle with Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS) is deteriorating rapidly. Twenty years after her near fatal fall that cost her the prospect of becoming an Olympic equestrian contender, Annemarie returns home to face several unresolved issues and a father she cannot even look in the eye.

"Then I have the most hideous thought of all: maybe we already were on the same page, and I simply never took the time to find out." ~ Annemarie, Riding Lessons 

All these years, Annemarie believed she was her parents' biggest disappointment. But, it's funny how we can live our entire lives affected by false perceptions. Will Annemarie get past her resentment toward her parents and allow herself to live again?

Riding Lessons has many different components. It deals with forgiveness and letting go, relationships and love, and unexpected second chances. Sometimes things done out of love do not seem right at first. What I also found interesting was the look into the sometimes brutal world of equestrian sports. No surprise, however, was the novel addressing the very deep bonds that develop between humans and animals. Riding Lessons is charming and heart-warming and emotional at times. I recommend it to fans of family and women's fiction and anyone whose life has ever thrown them from a horse, so to speak, and had to learn to get back on.

Read more of my book reviews.


  1. I will check this one out! I liked the other two and this one sounds as good. Thanks for the review.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Jennine. I have her others on my list as well thanks to you!

  2. Sounds real interesting....


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