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REVIEW: Ride a Painted Pony by Kathleen Eagle

Dear Mrs. Eagle,

I’ve adored your books for years and have posted in praise of them in the past. And then something happened with your writing. A new direction, I think it was called. I know you have to follow where your muse leads you but frankly, I wasn’t happy about where she was taking you. Well, hallelujah I think you’re headed back in the direction I like.

Lauren Davis didn’t realize until it was too late that she was way over her head going up against a man she had once, well maybe not loved, but enjoyed being with. He hadn’t wanted her to stop riding his racehorses to have the baby but once Joey had arrived, Raymond Vargas decided that no one was going to take his son away. And when Lauren tried, he beat her then ordered her killed. And she would have been too if his henchman hadn’t gotten soft and dumped her by the side of the road on a rainy night in Missouri.

And that’s where Nick Red Shield finds her, bruised and bloody and so helpless he can’t abandon her even if that kind of behavior was in him. So she tags along with him to pick up his dream in Colorado and haul it in his horse trailer back to his place on the Standing Rock Reservation in South Dakota. True Colors has a flashy pedigree and is guaranteed to sire babies with the paint colors horse buyers are interested in now and that is what Nick and his partner need to get their horse breeding business up and running. What Lauren finds in him is a fast horse who can win races and maybe be the “in” she needs to get her son back. But is she willing to risk Nick’s dream and their chance of a future?

“The Night Remembers” is the first book of yours I read and this one has some similarities: a battered woman on the run who finds shelter and protection then love from a Native American hero. And like “What the Heart Knows,” Indian casinos and gambling play a role as well. But this time you’ve added the world of small stakes quarter-horse racing to the mix and come up with something unique. Your knowledge, and love, of modern Lakota life is apparent and shown to us in the characters’ actions rather than parroted as a social studies lesson. I can see the places and actions you describe: a rainy night on the road, a truckstop, a tackroom in a barn, Lauren racing True Colors across open ground and the lazy riverbank where Nick proposes. What I had a little trouble seeing was Lauren managing to keep herself from trying to get Joey back sooner or Nick being willing to forgive Lauren for her betrayal quite as quickly as he does. But I can say that I enjoyed this book more than, oh well let’s just say more than the past few and I’m glad to be able to endorse yet another reason I’m glad you write romances. B for this one.

~Jayne

Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.

11 Comments

  1. Rosie
    Nov 17, 2006 @ 10:10:46

    Jayne, I’m so glad you reviewed this! I’m also a Kathleen Eagle fan from way back but the last few books didn’t work for me. I saw this in the book store yesterday and didn’t even pick it up to check it out. Now I’ll go give it another look.

  2. Keishon
    Nov 17, 2006 @ 10:46:45

    My copy is in the mail. I love Kathleen Eagle. I think she’s great. I look forward to reading this one as well. Thanks for the review.

  3. kardis
    Nov 17, 2006 @ 12:36:25

    Thanks for the great review Jayne! I think I may just have to check out this author. This book sounds like something I’d really enjoy. Thanks again!

  4. Jayne
    Nov 17, 2006 @ 19:48:21

    Rosie, this is definitely more in the style of her older single title books than the more recent women’s fiction stuff she was writing. Thank God.

  5. Jayne
    Nov 17, 2006 @ 19:54:22

    Kardis, if you’ve never tried Kathleen Eagle, you’ve got a treat in store. You might also want to look at some of her older stuff like “This Time Forever,” “Reason to Believe,” “Sunrise Song,” and “Fire and Rain.” Most of her books have Native American characters (she is married to a Sioux, herself). They aren’t always easy to read as they deal with the harsh realities of Indian life but the books I’ve mentioned are all fantastic.

  6. kardis
    Nov 18, 2006 @ 14:40:14

    Thanks Jayne, I will definitely give her a try!

  7. Karen W.
    Nov 18, 2006 @ 19:54:36

    I’m glad to read the positive review because I love Kathleen Eagle & just put this in my TBR mountain! :-)

  8. DS
    Nov 20, 2006 @ 11:15:25

    Not a fan of Kathleen Eagle but was it quite fair to label her Indian Romance? :) When I think of Indian Romance I think of Cassie Edwards and her ilk lined up at the used bookstore with a sticker with an “I” on the spine.

  9. Jayne
    Nov 20, 2006 @ 19:47:54

    Well……I see your point but since the NA culture is such a large part of most Eagle books, I felt I needed to mention it. I am still amazed, after so many years, that Edwards and her ilk still manage to churn out so many of that style of books and even more amazing, sell them! Gag me.

  10. Maya
    Nov 24, 2006 @ 16:35:21

    I bought this one and returned it – my heart fallen. I adored Kathleen Eagle once upon a time. Her last few have left me feeling lost and without a friend. She used to write about people I knew. About people I could know – regular everyday people who somehow find each other.

    I read about 6-7 chapters of Pony and I put it down in sadness. Horse racing? Woman left for dead? Hero who picks up a badly battered woman and doesn’t get her name but brings her home? I cared about Nick, but I never quite figured out who he was. I didn’t care about Joey (Lauren’s fake name she gives him).

    I felt like I was missing something. The characters seemed so easy with each other, when nothing about their meeting or relationship should have given ease. I would have finished the book, but the troubles with the book just began to build.

    I’m very disappointed.

    Maya

  11. Jayne
    Nov 25, 2006 @ 06:26:14

    Maya, I’m sorry if I steered you wrong on this one. For me, though it’s not the equal of her earlier great books, it’s much better than her most recent ones.

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