Appaloosa Summer by Tudor Robins Book Review

Appaloosa Summer by Tudor Robins Book Review
Relaxing Read
Protagonist Development / Character Arcs
Realistic Horse Stuff

I recently was introduced to Tudor Robins’ books by the author herself.  I am always thrilled to read anything…period…but when it’s a horse book I haven’t heard of I’m even happier.  I appreciate Tudor reaching out to me and for sending me over a digital copy of Appaloosa Summer to read.  Knowing it was the first book of a series written for the younger crowd set up some expectations that…were miraculously defied!

You know the story.  It’s the plot of SO many horse girl books.  Troubled horse.  Troubled child.  Miracle bond.  Absolutely ridiculously cheesy and unrealistic things happen.  The Black Stallion.  National Velvet.  The Thoroughbred Series.  Bestseller adult book The Horsewoman.  I could keep going.  Seriously…you guys know what I’m talking about. Honestly…it’s so cheesy…but also the reason we keep coming back to these things over and over.  It’s our childhood dream right?  THE horse story trope. I was ready for another one here…especially after the opening traumatic scene… Troubled girl – check.

When the book went decidedly un-horsey for a minute…I thought…oh maybe not.  But then comes the “troubled horse.”  Oh…here we go! Expectations set.

What followed was both the greatest relief and biggest disappointment of expectations I think I’ve ever had in a book (in a completely good way).

This book does not quite go where you think it’s going to go.  Now the series may eventually get there (I’ve only read the one you see)…but the actual horse stuff here is real life stuff.  Real life training.  Teaching someone else to ride.  A horse show that doesn’t end in a lot of blue ribbons or huge prize or saving the farm for the main protagonist.  And the horse stuff is…just like in real life for most of us…a side deal.  It’s not the “mane” bulk of the story.  It’s part of the main characters life…but it’s not the entirety.  This story is ultimately a very sweet love story in the way of an old school teen romance of yesteryear.  Innocent.  Kind.  Cute.  You can’t help but cheer on the characters.

I quite enjoyed the characters, even the minor ones.  No one felt unrealistic.  No one made me doubt the story in the least.  After recently visiting Canada for the first time…I can actually believe these people are real somewhere (because Canadians are…somewhat disturbingly in this modern world…refreshingly kind, considerate and open).  They certainly aren’t many people like this in California…but I can and want to believe they exist.  The characters feel like complete people and their arcs are well done with good internal and external development within the plot.  However they’re not so “done” that you don’t want to know what happens next year.  Or the year after that.  You want to know how these people continue on with their lives.

After reading a second one of her books which is NOT in the series, I wonder if maybe some of these characters do exist as real people in some form as they’re located in a specific setting that is completely unlike anywhere I’ve ever lived or could imagine living.  It makes me VERY much want to discover this location in real life to find if it is as idyllic and lovely in real life as it is in the books.

I honestly can’t find fault with this book.  It’s a great relaxing read filled with characters you care about, an interesting setting, realistic horse stuff and a nice pleasant story.  It’s not going to shock you.  It’s not going to scare you.  It’s not going to inspire you to the greatness of your childhood dreams.  It’s just going to make you smile and imagine a kinder world where a story like this could take place.   I’m happy to keep reading and stay in that world.

I have started on book 2 of the series if that isn’t a further indication of my approval for this book!