Book Review + GIVEAWAY: Race Girl by Leigh Hutton

Title : Race Girl

Author : Leigh Hutton

Publisher : Port Campbell Press

Release date : April 3rd, 2016

Rating : 4/5

Synopsis (from Goodreads) :

Tully Athens has always dreamed of following in the footsteps of her hero Michelle Payne. Of living up to the Athens name and becoming the third generation of women from her family to rule the track. But Tully’s never been sure she’s got the nerve, and when her mother is killed in a horse racing accident, her whole world is shattered.

Six months later, in the heat of a Queensland summer, sixteen-year-old Tully is ready to face her fears. But getting back in the saddle leads to a whole lot more than she bargained for, with an out of control crush on the boy from their rival thoroughbred farm – the gorgeous but cocky larrikin Brandon Weston – and a forgotten filly with stardom in her eyes . . .

When faced with the most difficult decision of her life, will Tully choose to train and race her new filly in Melbourne? Or will she sacrifice it all to fight for love on the land that feeds her soul?

It’s only when tragedy rips everything from her that Tully finds a strength and courage she never knew she had, in this action-packed novel of passion, adventure and determination.

Review :

Can I get a hell yeah for this amazing story of victory, determination, adventure, love and loss?!

Ok, so I’ll start with the negative, and end with the positive, alright? I didn’t expect much from this book, but one of the things I did hope to have was fast-paced, heart-racing action, horse races that would shatter my mere reading experience and turn me into a witness to the Melbourne Cup!!! Unfortunately, as you probably guessed, it wasn’t so. Even the beginning was dull, and if I wasn’t reading this book for a purpose, I would have started reading it diagonally. I found Race Girl to be slower paced than what I would have liked from this book, but I do understand why: it’s not a novel about horse racing, it’s a novel about a horseback rider who has to overcome obstacles. And yet, even though I know that already, I’m still just a tiny bit disappointed. However, Hutton has a great way of writing that makes readers feel like they’re in the action. During the races, I could have sworn that I was on a horse! So that was a real winner!

The main character, Tully, didn’t appeal to me, at first. She literally cried in every chapter. LITERALLY. Seriously, I couldn’t stand her! But, the book spans over 2 years, and we get to see an amazing character development. Tully becomes a mature young woman, caring and strong, forged through hard struggles. I really liked her at the end, as she finally became worthy of being the protagonist. I didn’t have much thought about Brandon, but their relationship was quite charming. The romance was cute, but thankfully, it didn’t take up too much space. It stayed in the background, and just added to the sweetness of the story.

As usual, I love it when an author does research for their novel!! Hutton was obviously a connoisseur about horseback riding, and horse races, and, from what I garnered about her other works, adventure sports in general. The bits that actually taught me anything about horseback riding were a joy to read, along with the bits about the riders themselves. I expected to learn about horses, and I did!

All in all, Race Girl is a very sweet story about a horse rider who overcomes difficulties and fights for what she loves. Although it struck me more as a young reader’s story, I still recommend it if you are looking for a simple but feel-good book!

۞ GIVEAWAY

Ends June 23rd – RACE GIRL GIVEAWAY

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