Studs and Stilettos, Bev Pettersen
Studs and Stilettos, Bev Pettersen
Review from Jeannie Zelos Book reviews.
I loved Bev’s Colour my Horse so when I saw this in the lists I had to ask for it…I was one of those horse mad kids who never grew out of it…use to drive mum mad asking if we could convert the outside loo of our council house into a stall, so I could have a pony on the commons during day and home at night. Of course the answer was no 🙂 and it took me over 30 years til I finally got my dream of my own horse. Now I have an elderly mare living in my garden, just as I dreamed of all those years ago….so any book with equine link gets a second look.
Bev clearly knows the horse world well, I felt as if I was there with them, could almost smell them. We horse people love that smell, oddly those who aren’t “horsey” don’t seem to share our love for that scent though! After (another) fall some years ago where I’d lost consciousness, the nurse at the surgery was complaining about how the horse smell lingered after I’d left. I was still not quite “with it” so it rolled of me 🙂 Still, enough ramblings – back to the book. Emily, she was so sweet and I felt for her, always been looked after by big sister Jenna, it had been just the two of them for so long, but now sis has found the love of her life Emily was a bit lost, and looking for something of her own. She’d tried lots of jobs but still was missing that spark, so her latest choice was acting, hoping her sister would be proud of her if she saw her on screen. Then things go wrong, and she has to try for some background work on a movie, hoping to finally impress Jenna and get enough money to tide her over. Its based around a famous racehorse, and having had her own pony (Peanut – the old guy was still living with Jenna) and worked at an equine rehab centre, she did a bit of skill fluffing and managed to get some extra work as a wrangler to pad out the pay, and keep her around the movie set in case of more chances of work. She makes friends with another background actor – Judith – who gives her lots of tips and help. Then she meets the delicious Dan, horse trainer and well renowned. He’s attracted to Emily, but his motto is to keep away from on-set romances – cause too much problems after, and he doesn’t want a long distance relationship – his parents marriage didn’t work and he’s determined not to go the same route. Still, she’s got under his skin, he admires her tenacity and things slowly develop.
Part of the lure of the film is that the horse was tipped as a Derby winner, then his girl groom went missing mysteriously two weeks prior to the race and he just flipped out and lost everything, becoming really difficult to handle etc. Emily finds out a bit about the missing girl, some of her possessions are in the house of the elderly caretaker – he’s seems to have some memory issues and isn’t taking care of himself. Emily having come across him by accident feels she needs to help him, and found a bag of the missing girls belongings while tidying his house. After that Judith seems to become obsessed with the missing girl and the dangers start to stack up. Things between her and Dan are on and off, and there are lots of misunderstandings before finally the story comes to a life threatening conclusion.
Its a stand alone novel, ( hurrah ) and has a neat conclusion wrapping up all lose ends. I didn’t see what was going to happen, had a bit of an idea from clues thrown in but the aggressor came as a shock to me. It reminded me a bit of Dick Francis novels, thrillers set in horse world, and I’ve read most of his. Now I enjoy those with a strong romance base better, and Bev has done that perfectly here. Its priced at £3.17 for 376 pages, so plenty of length to allow lots of minor angles that add interest to the story – such as the jealous Lizzie who twisted round what Emily had done to show her in a bad light to Dan…I like some jealous/nasty parts, it’s boring if everyone is nice.
Stars: Four and a half, great read.
ARC supplied by Netgalley.