Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Susan Wiggs - The Horsemaster's Daughter

Southern plantation owner Hunter Calhoun gambles the success of his Virginia horse farm on an Irish stallion; unfortunately, the animal arrives crazed and unridable after the stormy sea crossing. Desperate, Hunter turns to Eliza Flyte, the horsemaster's daughter, who has inherited her father's gift for gentling horses. Her ability to heal wounded spirits with her compassion and wisdom is amazing, and when Hunter convinces her to leave her isolated island and return home with him, she soon applies that gift to the bitter man and his grieving, motherless children. But what future can a woman raised alone by her father with only the sea, animals, and a few books for companions have with a man who grew up as a rich, upper-class son of the South? It seems unlikely that Eliza could ever fit into Hunter's world and just as unlikely that he would give up his privileged life for her world. It just may take a miracle for these two mismatched lovers to find a way to live happily ever after.

Comment: Months ago, I've read the first book in this Calhoun series and loved it. In fact, it was one of my favorites of the past year. I was immediately interested in reading more, and more so this story after realizing it would be Hunter's, a widow single dad who needed help with horses but I pictured on the spot he and his children would benefit from the heroine's help. I bought it, waited and read it last month.

This is the story of Hunter Calhoun, he lost everything after his wife left him. Now he's got the task of taming a stallion for a race but he is helpless to do so. In a final desperate attempt to save he horse, he turns to the horsemaster on Flyte island, a small island near his house in Virginia.
The horsemaster is dead but on the island, all by herself, is his daughter, Eliza. She saw her late father work with the horses others brought to him so she knows how to help Hunter's. What wasn't on the cards was he attraction between Eliza and Hunter...

I did like this story a lot. I thin it was a successful romance between two people with different takes on life. One of the best things about reading romances is to see how two people act and see the relationship develop. In this case, the author once more took feelings and expectations into account without being too obvious about it, even if one can say some plot clichés were to be expected, namely the things learned at the end about Hunter's late wife.

This book has a good main couple. Together, they act well and their interactions seem believable enough. Thinking about it, it was good to see them together, learning and teaching the other what it's like to love and to be loved, it was beautiful.
Hunter has a past to forget but he wants his children to be happy although he doesn't know how to change their misery at the moment. He also wants to build a new life for himself with a horse farm and racing but in everything else he is clueless about what to do. He drinks a lot and tries his best to not talk about his wife and the feelings she still evokes on him. Eliza changes all this with simply her presence because she is different and has a different take on life.

Eliza has been living alone on the island, rarely talking to people. She doesn't understand society conventions and only sees the truth of taking care of animals and seeing what works for them helped shape her vision of the world. She isn't prepared for what Hunter makes her fell but as always she gos with th flow. She really is the change he needed to shape his new life.
It was beautiful to see some scenes where Eliza does her job with the horses, with those who need...the en felt good, I think. Everyone needed to learn something, to live with th idea of something and for Hunter, Eliza and the children that meant a radical move. I loved the romance and the story.

Eliza is a different ind of heroine and she seems uncaring about society rules. In a way, this was refreshing but it also made her a bit too aloof to be true. I would have liked her to be more understanding of what it meant to be in society. Still, I think the end was suitable and romantic too!
I think this story isn't as strong as the first one but it offered many scenes powerful enough to make me feel something, to imagine what would be like for me to be in their shoes...so, all in all, a well done job.
Grade: 8/10

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