HN’s galloping book critic Erin McCabe jumps at the chance to preview Colette Auclair’s sophomore effort, which goes on sale August 4.
Last December, Colette Auclair kept me up late with the debut novel in her Aspen Valley series, Thrown. (Editor’s note: Read Erin’s review here.) Since that book was so fun, I jumped at the chance to read her sophomore effort, Jumped, and sure enough, she’s done it again.
Jumped opens with main character Beth attending a friend’s wedding in Colorado and finding herself seated at the same table as her ex-husband, Finn. The ex-husband who, it turns out, is still adorable, and handsome, and funny, and much more successful than he was five years ago when the two split. The ex-husband who, it also happens, Beth has never really gotten over. The ex-husband who now lives just an hour or so away from Beth’s best friend, Amanda (whose romance with Grady was the subject of Thrown).
As luck would have it, Finn hasn’t gotten over Beth either, but while there is plenty of chemistry between them, there’s also history, lots of history (and some of it is so recent that Beth doesn’t even know the full extent of her issues with Finn). Whether the two of them will decide to work out the mistakes of their past or if they’ll just content themselves with a nostalgia-fueled fling is the pressing question during their friend’s weekend get-away wedding—until fate intervenes in the form of a friendly football game.
I don’t want to give anything more away, because the fun of a romance novel is the how and the why, since of course we already know the who and the what. Suffice it to say that if you liked Auclair’s first book, you will definitely enjoy this one. And if you haven’t read Thrown, well, you’re in for a sweet and tangy summer treat. Jumped features Auclair’s same breezy, humorous style, though Beth is a more serious heroine and her unresolved conflicts with Finn require a less comic approach, which I appreciated.
Between that, a very appealing love interest (really, despite a pretty grievous mistake, Finn is the sweet one here), and of, course, horses, this book kept me up waaaay past my bedtime. I will say that Jumped goes lighter on the horse action than Thrown. For one thing, though Beth is staying with Amanda, she doesn’t live in the barn, like Amanda initially did. That’s not to say that horses don’t figure prominently in Beth’s life. She’s taking a hiatus from a career as a successful kids’ A-circuit hunter/jumper trainer to work on her new clothing line, but really she dreams of having her own horse rescue (don’t we all??). There are definitely horse-y moments here, though, alas, I can’t tell you my favorite two horse scenes, because they totally give away the ending (hint: check out that gorgeous cover!). Still, I would say this book is more romance-novel-with-horses, rather than horse-novel-with-romance.
And of course, while Jumped is absolutely a stand-alone novel, it’s more fun to read as a companion book to Auclair’s debut, Thrown, because you get to revisit some of the most fun characters (um, Harris?) and see what they’re up to. Jumped goes on sale (as an ebook only) on August 4, 2014 (you heard about it here first, people!), so there’s still enough time to read Thrown if you haven’t already. Bonus: It’s on sale for $1.99 from now until August 4. Bottom line? If you’re looking for a highly entertaining, fast-paced, horsey beach read, Jumped should fill the bill.
FTC Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher; this is my honest review.
About the Author: Erin McCabe rides two OTTB mares and hopes to someday soon get back to competing at horse trials. Her first novel, I Shall Be Near To You, was published earlier this year. You can learn more at erinlindsaymccabe.com.