Flying Changes by Sara Gruen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I just finished this sequel to Riding Lessons and I have to say I loved both books equally. I’ve been reading a lot of book reviews lately and I must say I am completely confounded. In addition to the glowing reviews (which, let’s face it, every book has at least a few because a universally hated book is truly a rare thing), a lot of the other reviews tend to fall into two camps. The first is that the book is trite, silly, predictable, &/or unrealistic and the reader just couldn’t care less. To these people, I ask: What’s wrong with a happy ending? Sometimes, I like to just enjoy the ride even if I might guess how things will end up. The second camp is that a book is too realistic and “sure there are people out there like that, but why would I want to read about them?” So my question is, what the heck do people want to read? Realistic or unrealistic? Predictable or unpredictable? I know it’s all about personal preference, but I honestly find myself wondering why people pick up certain books in the first place that they seem destined not to enjoy? (And for goodness sake, if you thought it was so horrible a few chapters in, just stop reading!)
You may notice that most of my reviews are generally positive, ranging from “Liked It” to “Loved It” with a rare book that I really couldn’t stand. I try really hard to only read books that interest me and that I think I will enjoy. I don’t like to read the same stuff over and over again, but I think I have a pretty good radar for finding reading material I like. I also like to think I have a very open mind which helps me enjoy all different kinds of books.
All that being said, I read a ton of reviews for Flying Changes that ranged from ripping it to shreds to just tolerating it. I on the other hand, adored it. The book picks up where Riding Lessons left off and follows the story of Annemarie’s re-kindled relationship with Dan (a man from her past) and her relationship with her daughter Eva as she starts competitive horseback riding. Annemarie battles her lingering fears from a riding accident that almost left her paralyzed 20 years ago and some insecurities about the future of her relationship with Dan. It is once again written from Annemarie’s point of view and, consequently, all the events of the book are seen through her eyes. Her struggles, fears, hang-ups, and mistakes are all par for the course. At one point, Dan tells her she has done “eight million stupid things since I’ve known you,” and honestly, who hasn’t? I love all the characters, including the horses, and found myself cheering them on and hoping everything will work out in the end. If you like books with any of the following things in them: horses, animals, struggling mother-daughter relationships, or romantic relationships in general, I would heartily recommend this book. Just don’t forget to read the first one first!