Saturday, September 22, 2012

Julie's Review: Flying Changes

Summary: Anxiety rules Annemarie Zimmer's days—the fear that her relationship with the man she loves is growing stagnant; the fear that equestrian daughter Eva's dreams of Olympic glory will carry her far away from her mother . . . and into harm's way. For five months, Annemarie has struggled to make peace with her past. But if she cannot let go, the personal battles she has won and the heights she has achieved will have all been for naught. It is a time of change at Maple Brook horse farm, when loves must be confronted head-on and fears must be saddled and broken. But it is an unanticipated tragedy that will most drastically alter the fragile world of one remarkable family—even as it flings open gates that have long confined them, enabling them all to finally ride headlong and free.

Review: It's been 4 years since I read Riding Lessons and I remember really enjoying it. I almost always enjoy horse novels and the first one was no different. As for Flying Changes, it moved along at a snail pace. I can't imagine what Annemarie went through when she almost died 20 years before from being thrown from a horse. Unfortunately, her fears are starting to affect her relationship with her troubled daughter, Eva.

Now Eva isn't the worst kind of kid, she's acting out but this acting out has caused her to be expelled from school. How nice that at the same time she gets an audition to go to Olympic winner Nathalie's training farm to see if she's got the right stuff. As Eva falls in love with a rare Nokota horse, it causes Annemarie to face her own fears.

I admit it, Annemarie got on my nerves. I just wanted her to deal with her tragedy and move on. She wasn't going to do that until she saw a therapist and she was being stubborn about that as well. I also knew she was going to mess up things with Dan. I also got that Eva was a typical teenager but part of me wondered if Annemarie was jealous because Eva had the possibility to live out her dreams, where as Annemarie's were literally crushed.

My favorite character in these 2 books by far is Mutti/Oma/Ursula, Annemarie's mom. She is the rock of the family. She is solid. You just know she doesn't put up with much and yet gives much love to her family.

I have to say this after reading 3 of 4 Sara Gruen novels, there is a huge jump in her style and ability between this one and Water for Elephants. I can't exactly pinpoint it but her storytelling dramatically got better, as did her characterization. I haven't read and probably won't read Ape House since I'm not a big fan of the primate family. I do look forward to whatever she writes after that one though.

Unless you've read Riding Lessons or just love horse stories, I can't say that you need to run out and read this one. If you haven't read Water For Elephants, that you must read. It is still a book I am always recommending.

Final Take: 3.25/5



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