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.