Review - "Making the running" by Hannah Hooton

This is the second review of a novel on this blog: Hannah Hooton's "Making the running". You might remember that I already wrote about "Share and share alike", the third novel of her Aspen Valley Series. "Making the running" is part four.

You can read the books individually, they don't base on each other. Still, the novels are interlaced: They feature the same horses and the same people with each book highlighting some of them and the others forming the background and atmosphere for the storyline. This is a structure that appeals to me - and Hooton does a great job diving into the different worlds of the characters, be it stable staff or members of the British upper class.



This is part 4 of the Aspen Valley Series. 
Cover: Hannah Hooton
"Making the running" protagonist Kate Creswell works as a stable lass at Aspen Valley Racing stable. Her dream is to see her favorite horse D'Artagnan run at the famous Cheltenham festival. 
Her attractive and ruthless sister Saskia in the meantime puts all her energy into tempting D'Artagnan's trainer Jack into an affair. She is not interested at all in Jockey Ben who fancies her - and to whom Kate is attracted. That gives her a hard time as she officially is dating Ben's wealthy half brother Nicholas. 
The relationship of the brothers is not the best and also Kate has family issues with a father who left her when she was little and a mother who's an alcoholic. To top it all, she discovers not only a dark side of Nicholas, but also Ben is not what she thought he was. And though D'Artagnan is allowed to race at Cheltenham, it seems he will not be allowed to win. 

Reading my summary that doesn't sound too spectacular. But to me that is the strength of the book. Storyline and characters are credible, and the reader (at least I) can relate to the protagonist's problems. The plot is not artificially structured or overly sophisticated and neither are the characters. But they don't have to. 

I liked the way Hooton manages to connect all the dots and to close the story quite elegantly. The book is an easy and entertaining read and you'll stick to it until the last page. 
I liked it better than part three of the series - which seemed a bit too crafted to me. But maybe, I just felt more related to the protagonists this time. And what really made me laugh were some plain details every horse owner knows by heart: a horse swishing his tail in one's face, a horse with his whiskers full of grain or the fancy horse names that will be familiar to anybody who ever set a foot on a racetrack. 

Click here to visit Hannah's website. You can download the first part of the Aspen Valley Series, "Keeping the peace" for free.





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