HarperTorch, March, 2004.
Riding Lessons takes the reader over a steeplechase of events as the story of Annemarie Zimmer, once a champion rider headed for an Olympic equestrian team, unfolds. Now a woman in her thirties trying to deal with a multitude of problems, Annemarie is facing the situations encountered by many women: unresolved issues of youth, abandonment by a husband of many years, a frighteningly rebellious teenage daughter, loss of a job through economic conditions, ill parents, and still attractive men.
Readers will find Annemarie a sympathetic heroine as she deals with problems that many women face today. First she finds that she has been laid off by a company facing a financial squeeze in the up and down markets of today's world. On arriving home from the traumatic loss of a job, Annemarie finds that her husband has left her and that her rebellious fifteen-year old daughter has just been dropped from her school due to excessive absences. While reeling from this unfortunate tidal wave of disasters, Annemarie discovers that her father, who was always so strong, is dying of the horrible consequences of Lou Gehrig's disease.
Set against a background of the world of show horses, this is an exciting story about the problems of contemporary women and the self-knowledge that so often comes through suffering. Sara Gruen leads us through a world of horses and the many hidden crimes that are committed daily on these animals who are regularly victims of the worst in human nature.
Riding Lessons is a compelling story -- from the shocking first chapter until the final solution. Told in the first person, Riding Lessons allows us to share all of Annemarie's emotions and feelings as she struggles to survive in a puzzling and indifferent world. Those readers who have known what it is to love horses will find this story as exhilarating as a morning ride.
--Sarah Reaves White
Riding Lessons is available for purchase on Amazon.com
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This review was published in the May-June, 2004 of The Internet Writing Journal.
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