Book Review – The Horsewoman by James Patterson and Mike Lupica – A Charming Read
My Rating – 4 out of 5
Plot Summary (Storyline) – The Horsewoman
From the master of the page-turning thrillers – James Patterson – comes this sports drama as his first offering of the new year. Co-authoring with Mike Lupica for this venture, Mr. Patterson ventures into new territory, a dramatic story of two women Horse riders. Betty McCabe and Maggie Atwood are two women (Daughter and mother) who form the two prongs of the trinity, the third being Maggie’s mother Caroline Atwood – the matriarch of this horse-loving family. Together they run the Atwood Horse farm and ride in their free time.
Amongst the three, Maggie was the most talented and almost made the US Showjumping team for the Olympics, where her horse refused to jump and Maggie lost her golden chances to be part of the US Olympic team. Now, Becky is the most reluctant rider, though she does share the family’s love of horses. Again, the Paris Olympics are around the corner, Maggie and her Belgian warmblood, Coronado, are practicing hard for it. But one morning when Maggie left for horseriding on a mountainous trail, everything felt like any other normal day at the Atwood Farm.
Coronado returns alone from the trail and Becky rushes to find that her mother has fallen off the horse and has broken her pelvis, leaving her little or no time to recover before the qualifying events for the Olympics. By accident, Becky becomes the designated rider on Coronado and participates in some of the qualifying events. In the meanwhile, Maggie begins her recovery early and is keen to have her horse and career back. In an already complex equation between mother and daughter, they now become reluctant competitors, first at local grounds, then at Olympic qualifying events.
In a developing side story, their trainer Daniel Ortega battles his own immigration issues, and Coronado’s majority owner, business tycoon Steve Gorton tuns nasty towards the Atwood women as he wants his own rider atop Coronado, come the Olympics. There’s a small cameo by Becky’s father, who despite having divorced Maggie a while back, comes back into their lives to support them through their quest for an Olympic berth. As the two women – Maggie atop Coronado and Becky atop her smaller horse, Sky, make their way through the qualifying events, the excitement heats up rapidly.
Conclusion – Book Review of The Horsewoman
Mike Lupica’s sportswriting expertise is amply demonstrated all over the book and he makes it easy to follow, even for laymen. The pace of the story picks up from the second half of the book and without being about murders and serial killers, it turns out to be such a winner! The characters are well fleshed out, the chemistry between man and animal is exemplified very well and you as a reader, can’t help but fall in love with the spunk of 21-year-old Becky and her equally dynamic mother Maggie. All the while, Caroline, the matriarchal figure in the Atwood family, hovers over them like an umbrella, though her sharp tongue keeps all in check.
This book comes as a fresh breath in the James Patterson universe, and one suspects that there might be more in the offing which are far removed from the blood and crime of the other series and stand-alones. A well-researched and well-written book, you wouldn’t regret picking up!
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