Sunday, February 21, 2016

Review: Chasing the Wind

It's always comforting when there's clear proof near the beginning of a horse novel that the author is a horse person. Hannah Hooton is without a doubt a horse person, as evidenced by a passage in her new novel Chasing the Wind in which one character can only offer an injured human bute or horse bandages, because what sort of rider drives around with a human first aid kit in their car?

Chasing the Wind is the fifth and final book in Hooton's Aspen Valley series. As with the preceding novels, Chasing the Wind can be read as a stand-alone book, though readers of the entire series will have an even greater appreciation for the stories told about each set of characters featured previously.

At the beginning of Chasing the Wind we find new character Lucy Kendrick posing as a reporter on her way to shadow champion jump racing trainer Jack Carmichael. Her arrival coincides with a terrible tragedy in Jack's life as well as the beginning of a series of mysterious racing offences affecting Aspen Valley runners, both of which threaten to destroy Jack's career and his marriage. Is this the end of Aspen Valley Stables? Will the entrance of charming Irish jockey Finn O'Donaghue cause Lucy to blow her cover? What is Lucy hiding and for what purpose is she at Aspen Valley?

While the novel deals with a nearly unthinkable tragedy and its after-effects, Hooton has mastered the art of writing about difficult topics in a way that allows the reader to appreciate what each character is going through without sacrificing the enjoyability of the book. While tragedy is central to the plot, there are also several mysteries running through Chasing the Wind, as well as romance, both old and new. 

Of the Aspen Valley novels I've read, Chasing the Wind is easily my favourite. Not only is the horse subject matter as accurate and engrossing as ever (Hooton has a talent for making racing scenes in particular come to life), but the depth of characters and skilled storytelling make it a great pleasure to read.

Those in the hunter/jumper world will appreciate mention of certain jump training exercises shared between the jumping disciplines in addition to the captivating human stories intertwined with those of the horses who share their world.

Chasing the Wind is a highly recommended read for the adult horsey crowd and can be purchased at the following links:
Barnes & Noble/Nook

Disclosure: I have received no financial compensation for writing this review aside from a sample or copy of the product to be reviewed. My reviews are always my honest opinion and experience. Readers who use reviewed products do so at their own risk.