Monday, July 7, 2014

Review: Share And Share Alike by Hannah Hooton

According to the author, "Share And Share Alike" is aimed at those who liked "pony books" as children. Pony books are a rather specifically British thing (the closest United States book I can think of right now is My Friend Flicka).

I'm not sure "Share And Share Alike" fits that bill. A true pony book focuses on the rehabilitation or training of a horse, with the human drama secondary. Instead, "Share And Share Alike" is all about the human drama. It's primarily a genre romance, with a strong narrative (and chemistry) between the male and female leads and moderate heat level. It's secondarily a mystery - the members of the syndicate have to work out who "nobbled" their horse right before a big race.

The on the track action is definitely secondary to the drama between the characters. It is, however, well written and researched - and unusual. Most racing books focus on the high stakes, high glamor world of flat racing. Share And Share Alike (which is the third in a series) is centered around British National Hunt racing - steeplechasing and hurdling. A much more relaxed endeavor. This may make it either more or less interesting to American audiences outside the high steeplechasing areas in, say, Maryland.

The book stays accurate to my knowledge of National Hunt, and stops on a couple of occasions to highlight the importance of the "lads" and "lasses," as British racing calls the grooms who often care for a horse throughout its career. (Another book in the series focuses on them entirely - I may want to read that one now). The expense, the difficult decisions that have to be made - the author clearly knows racing. However the horse, Ta' Qali, exists primarily as a plot device to bring the various human characters together - he's not nearly as well rounded or realized as the humans. He does have some interesting quirks, though, and his brief appearances are well described.

So, would I recommend "Share And Share Alike?" I'd recommend it more to romance and mystery fans than to "pony book" fans - but I would recommend it. It's a well written book with an interesting cast of characters - and the racing syndicate device was beautifully used to bring together people who would not otherwise have met.

I'm going to give it four stars with a recommendation that romance readers with an interest in racing will definitely enjoy this book.

(I was provided with a copy of this book by the author for review purposes).

Or if you prefer the hard copy go here.

If you want your book reviewed on this blog, here are the guidelines:

1. The book must be one of the following:
a. Fiction of any genre that has horses or equestrian activity as a major component. Other equines are fine too - be they mules or unicorns.
b. Equine related informative non-fiction aimed at non-riders or beginner riders.
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