I’ll be the first to admit that I know next to nothing about the world of horse racing, and I never thought that a romance novel set in such a world could hold my attention for very long, yet I found myself truly hooked after the first few pages of Bev Pettersen’s Color My Horse. In some strange way all those details about the life in the stables and on the racetrack turned out to be fascinating, and very quickly I found myself caring for a good few of the characters in the story, which turned out to be a truly fun mixture of rather hot romance and intriguing mystery with international elements.
Jessica Boone was born into a rich family, but she decided to forge her own way in the world. After an accident in her chosen career at the time, she was forced to abandon it, but she is determined not to give in to her rather tyrannical grandfather. She has a plan, but she needs just a bit of financial help to put it in motion, so she is forced to ask him for help. Needless to say the old man is less than impressed with her idea, and quite determined to have her work for him, so he devises a challenge. If she will work as a groom at the racetrack for a certain period of time, he will finance her venture. If not, she will come and work for him. Jessica finds herself in a totally new world, one which she knows absolutely nothing about, yet sh’s determined to make it work for her. After all, she was born into a rich family, but she has never been lazy or afraid to work. As if the daily challenges of her work were not enough, there is also the fact that her new boss, Mark Russell, is very attractive, if not always pleasant. Could Jessica tough it out? Will the romance sizzle or fizzle? And who are those sinister people lurking around the stables?
I’ve greatly enjoyed both the romantic and the mystery components of the story. I found the characters believable and very diverse, and some of the minor ones actually became my favorites, particularly Maria and her “charge,” of whom I do not want to say too much here, to protect the mystery. The daily life and travails of the people taking care of the horses proved to be far more interesting and engrossing than expected, and I was pleasantly surprised at the twists and turns of the storyline, as well as at the rather surprising ending. I would highly recommend Color My Horse to any lover of solid, intelligent romance and mystery, as long as they do not object to sometimes rather explicit sexual content.