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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Review and Giveaway - The Higest Stakes by Emery Lee

The Highest Stakes: He's racing to win back his country, his fortune and his one true love
The Highest Stakes by Emery Lee
Paperback: 560 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (April 1, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1402236425
ISBN-13: 978-1402236426
Author Website

Rating: 4.25 of 5

A tale of drama, danger, thwarted love, and retribution set in the high stakes gentleman’s world of 18th century horse racing, where fortunes could be won… and lost…
Product Description
The breathtaking origins of thoroughbred horse racing. A tale of drama, danger, thwarted love, and retribution set in the high stakes gentleman-s world of 18th century horse racing, where fortunes could be won... and lost...
She’s lonely and neglected, but she knows horses...
Charlotte Wallace is orphaned and alone until a sympathetic stable boy takes her under his wing and teaches her everything about thoroughbred racing. In the process, the two discover in each other a love destined to be thwarted at every turn...
If only he could, he’d take her away with him forever...
Robert Devington has tried everything to persuade Charlotte’s uncle to allow them to marry. Then an ill-fated friendship, a scandal in the making, and one desperate act of folly rob them of their love and his livelihood... Dead set on retribution, all Robert’s hopes are hanging on one small horse-his only chance to reclaim his land, his dignity, and his love, against all odds...
Review: This is wonderfully engaging and rich debut novel. The history of thoroughbred horse racing is woven into a star-crossed romance with a truly authentic feel.

The Product Description does a good job of summarizing the story although it doesn’t really say that Robert’s pride stands in his way quite often. Robert is bright, determined and a bit too proud sometimes. His extreme risk taking in the racing realm was a bit frustrating for me and his hot headed stubbornness definitely got him into trouble.

Charlotte is a girl after my own childhood heart when I loved being outside with the horses (farm horses, not thoroughbreds). She falls in love with a groomsman but her Uncle wants to use her as a pawn. She is strong minded and faithful but stuck in the society she was born to. Although she is willing to take a risk on Robert he isn’t willing to take one on her without proving himself first.

There are several good secondary characters that give added depth to the story.  Charlotte's Uncle is a country squire seeking to build up a renowned and prosperous stable. Robert's good friend from their war service is particularly complex and plays a surprising role in Robert's misfortune.

I enjoyed the history of how all thoroughbred horses started from three specific Arabian stallions imported to England. The details of the owners and horse racing were wonderfully presented by factual information placed smoothly in conversation and description. Those details were extremely well researched and the writing fit the setting and time period so it seemed quite authentic. You could feel the excitement of the horse races and the intense emotions of the participants - both men and noble beasts.

I would not describe this as light, but it moved at a good pace with all the action in racing and war settings. It is a very enjoyable read. Wonderful for those who like historical romance with real history and those who like horses and those who love romance that has to overcome multiple obstacles.

***************************************************
Thank you to Danielle at Sourcebook for this fine book.

TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY FOR THIS VERY GENTLY READ ARC:

1. Comment on the review telling me a little something you know about horses or horseracing or have you ever been to a real horse race?  Please leave your e-mail!

2. For an extra entry, become a follower or tell me if you are already a follower.

3. For another entry, blog, facebook, tweet (any of those networks!) about this giveaway and tell me where you did.

(Three total entries possible.)
It isn't necessary to use separate entries unless you want them in different chronological order.

* This contest is only open to residents of US and Canada.
* No P.O. Boxes Please - for shipping reasons.
* This contest will close Midnight (Central) on May 21, 2010. The winner will be randomly selected from all entries.

CymLowell

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