I wasn’t sure about this book when I started reading it, but persevered as I am a fan of the author. I’m so glad I stayed with it...to the point where I could hardly put it down. The characters are so well drawn, some you love, some you loathe, some you’d like to give a good talking too, but all real. As usual for this author, the settings of the story are characters too. I am very familiar with the areas described and so much loving attention has gone into the detailed descriptions of them. Reading the storyline itself was like riding a rollercoaster of emotions, and I couldn’t wait to get to the end, but didn’t want to finish it either. All in all, a wonderful read.
This was such an enjoyable read. I was already a fan of Jan Ruth so my expectations were high - and they were more than met. The plot was clever, convincing and unpredictable. The ending was particularly well done. And the characters were brilliant – complex, engaging and all too human. I was hooked from the start – and keen to know how the dilemmas and questions would play out. The love story element was subtly done which made it all the more beguiling. This is a real binge read of a book – a great one to curl up with on winter's afternoon and to keep reading well past bedtime.
A brilliant story line. How one drunken night can come back to haunt you years later. For most of the story I sided with Ian, Caroline knew what Ian’s problems were from very early on but still chose what she thought the easiest way out of her dilemma, roll on eighteen years when everything comes to a head after her Daughter Mollie has a rideing accident. There is some real good twists in this story and I have to admit I didn’t see a couple of them coming. I love the discription of the area I feel like I could walk around the areas and know where I am. I didn’t want it to end.
Another wonderful book from Jan Ruth. I have read every one of her titles and had looked forward with eager anticipation to Gift Horse. It most certainly didn’t disappoint!! Yet again Jan with her unique ability, manages to amalgamate romance with her love of horses which shines through and then the icing on the cake, her wonderfully vivid description of the beautiful North Wales Countryside!! I have recommended Jan’s books to many of my friends from different walks of life and, without exception they have loved them!!
Gift horse was a very intriguing story. I really enjoyed reading about Caroline’s past and how her life changed after one drunk filled night. I found the dynamics between Ian and Caroline very interesting, especially because she seemed a much younger soul than he was even when they were both young. This makes for a gripping read especially as we see how their future turns out.
The story itself follows Caroline as she frets over her daughter Mollie’s horse race. While in the race Mollie and her horse suffer a tragic accident, which changes her life forever when Ian has blood taken to help Mollie he discovers he’s not her dad. Who is Mollie’s dad then? Will the truth cause a rift in Mollie’s family? Or will Ian forgive Caroline and keep the family together? Read Gift Horse to find out.
I felt for Ian throughout the book. Although he struggled in the bedroom, he was determined to fix his problem, not only that but also thinking he’d fathered a daughter brought out his loving caring side which was a great contrast to his very shut-offish personality.
However, Caroline suffered because one night left her with secrets, so she ended up settling for a man she didn’t truly feel loved by. This resulted in Caroline dedicating her life to her daughter. I think in some ways she wished she’d had an out for a long time. Despite all of the complexities, Ian and Caroline loved their daughter Mollie. The author did a great job at capturing the love that bonded the family
This book involves some emotional contents including a person’s fight against cancer. The author captured the struggle of looking after a parent and confronting the hardships that the future may bring very sensitively.
I also thought the mention of therapy horses and their usefulness, reminded me of just how special animals are and the affect they can have on a person’s life.
The end was unexpected, I really liked how it tied up with the tragic advent at the beginning and left me with a sense that the story had come full circle.
If you like books with beautiful sceneries and horses or family dramas involving secrets and revelations, then give this book a try.
I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an unbiased review. I always enjoy contemporary stories involving believable lives.
Caroline has it all, a rich successful husband, a large beautiful home and a daughter they both love. But Mollie’s terrible accident while competing on her horse, Sahara Sun, exposes cracks in their apparently happy life and Caroline’s past catches up with her. Can she take Mollie from Ian, the father she loves so much, and will Mollie ever forgive her secrecy?
Travelling back to the millennium we join Caroline and her flat-mate Niamh at a party in the Welsh hills. Already in a relationship with Ian, she realises that the life she will have with him will be very different from that lived by Niamh and her charismatic pop-star brother, Rory. Will one night of happiness change her path or be a last fling? However, this tale is more complex. More mistakes are made in 2017. As Mollie struggles to come to terms with her injuries, Caroline hopes that she will agree to try horse therapy with Connor, an unusual man who helps people to cope with pain and confusion through their interaction with horses. Meeting Niamh and Rory again, adds further complications as she strives for independence, developing her illustration business and facing up to her own weaknesses.
Gift Horse is an unusual novel which shows the shallowness of material wealth and respectability, but it also deals with crises of injury and betrayal. I was expecting more details of the horse therapy, which I would have enjoyed but perhaps that might have loosened the taut plot and surprising conclusion. A remarkable story of a woman discovering her destiny.
Gift Horse is the first full-length novel by Jan Ruth that I’ve read, I’ve previously read a novella and collection of short stories. The author Jan Ruth loves to write stories set in her beloved Wales and especially the rugged area around Snowdownia. The love for this area shines from the pages and fills the storyline with atmosphere. I really enjoyed this contemporary romance by Jan Ruth. Gift Horse is a story that delves into the complexities of people and of relationships. It was a story of how one decision in your life could ultimately change the course of your future and would put your choice in someone else’s hands. A young, almost naïve nineteen year old Caroline is being swept off her feet by an older suitor. Ian has the money to woo Caroline and his gentleness in his character with his courting of her is quite formal but at this moment in time Caroline is enjoying this old fashioned romance. However, a weekend away brings an opportunity for Caroline and Ian to spend some time together with Niamh, Caroline’s best friend, and a few other friends. Animosity between Niamh and Ian soon causes conflict and Caroline starts to doubt the direction her life is going but one rash decision of the heart gives her a glimpse into a life full of other possibilities. Fate however, plays it’s hand and soon closes the door for Caroline. Gift Horse is a story that holds you captive in the emotional upheavals in Caroline’s life. A life that now eighteen years on starts unravelling following a terrible accident involving her daughter. The proverb ‘never look a gift horse in the mouth’ is the perfect title for this story. Caroline, Ian, daughter Mollie and even a few of the sub-characters had all been given gifts in the past and the present, gifts that could change their lives for the good and also for the bad. The proverb’s meaning; don’t question or criticize the value of a gift or benefit, even if you don’t like it very much. Jan Ruth knows how to spin a tale about real people and their tangled lives. I loved the landscape it sounded beautiful and raw, very much like people themselves. I will certainly check out more of Jan Ruth’s novels.
I have a few writers in my arsenal of "go to" authors, those whose stories I know will never disappoint, and this author is definitely one of those who I know will never let me down and, her latest novel, Gift Horse certainly ticks all the right boxes. Caroline Walker's daughter has a dreadful accident at a riding event, a trauma which acts as catalyst for what follows in the rest of the story. Flipping effortlessly between past and present, the story gradually emerges of something which happened in Caroline's past, a youthful indiscretion, which will have repercussions far into the future. The story flows beautifully, not just around the characters, but also of the landscape around it. People and places merge, delivering a story of a traumatised girl on the road to recovery, the emergence of secrets long buried, and of the devastating consequences of the truth being revealed There's such a powerful connection to the characters that you can't help but form an emotional bond with them, some I liked more than others, and yet, they all bring an overall strength to the story, particularly, Connor with his tender care of the horses at the therapy centre, Rory with his laissez-faire attitude to life, and Ian, Caroline’s husband, who brought some powerful anxieties of his own into the story. Throughout the whole of journey is Caroline, fighting her own particular demons with a reserve of character which, I think, we would all like to have. I enjoyed her company immensely and hoped that everything would eventually work out for her and her family. I read Gift Horse quickly over the space of a few hours, not because it was light on content, far from it, but because once started, I really couldn’t put the book down and needed to keep turning the pages until I knew just how the story would eventually play out. And yes, there were a few tears at the ending.