As a world-class equestrienne and Olympic contender, Annemarie Zimmer lived for the thrill of flight atop a strong, graceful animal. Then, at eighteen, a tragic accident destroyed her riding career and Harry, her beloved and distinctively marked horse. Jobless and abandoned, she is bringing her troubled teenaged daughter to this place of pain and memory, where ghosts of an unresolved youth still haunt the fields and stables—and where hope lives in the eyes of the handsome, gentle veterinarian Annemarie loved as a girl, and in the seductive allure of a trainer with a magic touch. But everything will change once again with one glimpse of a red-and-white-striped gelding startlingly familiar to the one Annemarie lost in another lifetime. And an obsession is born that could shatter her fragile world….
It is a time of change at Maple Brook Horse Farm, when loves must be confronted leesions and fears must be saddled and broken. Annemarie Zimmer. Some of that may be the person reading who, the actress is just driving me up a wall. All I've done, my whole life, is keep it temporarily at bay. I devoured this in just a few days and Riding lessions gruen myself trying to squeeze in "just a few more pages" here and there. She just made it more believable.
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Turns out I don't like Eva or her mother anymore this time around than I did in the first Riding lessions gruen. Riding Lessons 2. The plot focuses on the main character's daughter and her eventing career. The "Water for Elephants" author Apr 10, Beth Cato rated it it was ok Shelves:grudnno-longer-ownhorse. Read for the Popsugar! Austin, TX 17 years in business. The story moves along pretty grue but as the wholly predictable plot rolled along, I started to feel like Riding lessions gruen was inside a Lifetime movie. Short humorous story for teen Park, TX 10 years in business. I focus on safety first and teach horsemanship on the ground, as well as in the saddle or surcingle for vaulting.
Twenty years after a tragic accident destroyed her riding career, Annemarie Zimmer returns to her dying father's New Hampshire horse farm with her troubled teenage daughter and encounters two men who could change her life.
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Like The Horse Whisperer , Gruen's polished debut is a tale of human healing set against the primal world of horses.
The Olympic dreams of teenaged equestrian Annemarie Zimmer end when her beloved horse, Harry, injures her and destroys himself in a jumping accident. In the agonizing aftermath, she gives up riding and horses entirely. Two decades later, she returns to her family's horse farm a divorcee, with her troubled teenaged daughter, Eve, in tow. There, her gruff Germanic mother struggles to maintain the farm and care for Annemarie's father, who is stricken with ALS.
Although Annemarie decides disastrously to manage the farm's business, her attention quickly turns to an old and ostensibly worthless horse with the same rare coloring as Harry. Her long-denied passion for riding reawakens as she tracks the horse's identity and eventually discovers it to be Harry's younger brother.
She must heal both horse and herself as she struggles with her father's deterioration, Eve's rebellion and her attraction to both the farm's new trainer and her childhood sweetheart Dan. Impulsive and self-absorbed, Annemarie isn't always likable, but Gruen's portrait of the stoic elder Zimmers is beautifully nuanced, as is her evocation of Eve's adolescent troubles. Amid this realistically complex generational sandwich, the book's appealing horse scenes—depicted with unsentimental affection—help build a moving story of loss, survival and renewal.
Forecast: Never underestimate the public's fascination with horses. Harper Torch certainly isn't; the house is launching Gruen's debut with an impressive ,copy first printing. While this book isn't likely to be the next Seabiscuit, its striking cover image, featuring a silhouette of a wild horse, will help attract a broad spectrum of readers.
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To ask other readers questions about Flying Changes , please sign up. Gruen is a good writer, but an editor really needed to slap her hand away from the crisis button during the review of this book. Details if other :. Oh, and she's obsessed with a horse. Readers also enjoyed.
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Let's get one thing out of the way right now; I think horse people are on the crazy side. There, I said it. If you're a horse person and don't think you're crazy, you're probably wrong but it's OK. Anyway, the book starts out with lots of horse stuff and I was a bit put off by it, b A friend gave me a bunch of iPad books and this was among them; I don't know how I didn't realize that the author was the same as Water for Elephants, but when I finished and realized it, a lot made sense.
Anyway, the book starts out with lots of horse stuff and I was a bit put off by it, but figured hey, read something different- maybe it's a good book! This incredibly predictable story centers around a woman and her daughter and their struggles to face life in the face of divorce, memories of a terrible accident and teenage angst.
Even after realizing that, I read on because I was bored and didn't feel like starting a new book. The story moves along pretty well but as the wholly predictable plot rolled along, I started to feel like I was inside a Lifetime movie. Oh the teen angst! Oh the non-committing boyfriend and subsequent crazy misunderstandings! And as the book progressed, it turned all Bold and the Beautiful; Oh the tragic accident! Oh the deaths and no family! Oh the judge that assigns over custody of a baby within hours with no questions asked!
It was like a long, slow lovemaking session with a crazy jackrabbit ending. Maybe I dozed off, but WTF with the abused lady and her neglected horse and kid? Blah blah money blah blah beaten, what happened to any of them and why do we care? The horse never figured into the plot at all and neither did any of the people in that weird sub-plot.
What was the purpose? Other thing I hated: The finance. Then later makes like he had a ring baked into the souffle the whole time.
Yeah, sure you did, you flaming asshole- as soon as you realized how bad you screwed up you ran out he ran to Jared! As if he bought her a ring AND earrings. Liar liar pants on FIRE. The daughter: That girl needed a slap so hard it would send her into next week.
If I EVER thought about speaking to my mother the way she did, I'd be sleeping in the barn and be lucky to have some goddamned hay to cover with. Holy crap!
Imagine telling your mom to clean up because she looks like a "sea hag". That little bitch, every time her horse took a jump I prayed for her untimely death. So in the end, I hated this book and I pray I don't forget this author's name and read more of her garbage. I liked Water for Elephants actually but it had some depth to it and some good character development. This book was like watching a bad soap opera and none of the people you wanted dead actually bit the dust.
View 2 comments. Jan 16, Emily Wood rated it did not like it. That was…pretty bad. The main character was really annoying everything makes her cry.
I can't believe this is the same author as Water for Elephants. Jan 01, Kellie rated it it was amazing Shelves: my-library , fiction-literature , reads. Based on the reviews I read before starting this second book following Riding Lessons, I was worried I wasn't going to like this.
I'm so glad I stayed on course. I loved this book. It probably helps that I have ridden horses, shown horses, and own a horse. I've ridden English and Western and jumped fences.
I know exactly what it means when the smell of a barn warms your heart. There is something about a teenage girl and a horse. It's a bond hard to understand.
Annemarie is not an easy cha Based on the reviews I read before starting this second book following Riding Lessons, I was worried I wasn't going to like this. Annemarie is not an easy character to like, however, her imperfections make her easier to relate to so you kind of want to route for her. The one character I didn't care for is her daughter, Eva. I thought the author created a monster of a teenage daughter.
Part of it is Annemarie lets her get away with treating her bad. The divorce doesn't help either. But the selfishness and misbehavior is over the top, but is probably more real than I know. Sara Gruen wrote "Water for Elephants" which was a fantastic book. It's' hard to top.
However, Ms Gruen is a fantastic story teller and these 2 earlier books show her talent. The story flows and kept my attention from beginning to end. All the loose ends were tied up so I felt satisfied at the conclusion.
It's been a long time since I've had a book call to me and pull me off my tablet. The last few books I've read have done that. I wish there were more books out there by Gruen. I would definitely read them. Mar 25, Mary Catherine rated it really liked it. In shock and filled with a sadness few can relate to, Annemarie gives up her riding and her dreams of having an Olympic medal placed around her neck. Fast-forwarding decades later, Annemarie finds herself back at the family ranch after a divorce.
With her comes her troublesome teenager, Eve. Once home, she must deal with her daughter, a sick father, a strict mother, the horses her family owns, and a childhood sweetheart that still looks at her with stars in his eyes. Both novels are, once again, full of meticulous research and unending emotion, whether it is happiness, shock, anger, annoyance, or any other emotion one can think of. Annemarie is written as a woman who could be anyone, whether she is someone who works with horses and has lost her dreams or someone who was the CEO of a hot corporation who has suddenly lost her way.
Both novels are a testament to life, to the struggles one must face through obstacles both from outside sources and from within. Annemarie is human in every sense of the word, which is sometimes difficult to find in novels nowadays. If anything was inaccurate, I had no idea, and she describes just enough on competitions and the care of horses that it felt like I was a new employee at the ranch learning the ins and outs of a new job.
Gruen fills a world with explanation but she tells it as part of a story rather than a documentary-like setting that might read as an encyclopedia. The situations and the characters are far from perfect.
There is anger throughout the book and human errors. These books portray the infallible part of life and that is what makes them perfect. Jan 21, Mackay rated it did not like it Shelves: really-terrible-books , horse-stories. I read this because, as the friend who suggested it said, "it's about horses and it's easy to read"--and I'd read the first book. Gruen was the new hot thing after "Water For Elephants.
The heroine-narrator drove me nuts. What a mess. She never learns or grows or changes--she's just a whiny, self-involved jerk. Her daughter is just like her, only a teenager. Which is worse I read this because, as the friend who suggested it said, "it's about horses and it's easy to read"--and I'd read the first book.
Which is worse? And as a former horsewoman, I'll just say--I wouldn't let either of these characters near a horse in real life. They're both a menance and unpleasant to boot.
Any self-respecting horse would trample them and be done. Tell you what I really think? Based on this and the first book of the series , it'll be a cold day in Hades before I read anything else by Gruen, including any NYT bestsellers.
Did I mention really annoying? View all 4 comments. Fantastic — I had no idea there was still melodramatic horse fiction for grownups! And then the last third of the book takes a spectacular t Fantastic — I had no idea there was still melodramatic horse fiction for grownups! And then the last third of the book takes a spectacular turn for the melodramatic with rain soaked eventing courses, car accidents and drama over gaining custody of a baby. Dec 02, Patti Salmon rated it it was ok.
I found I was getting more and more aggravated with the characters in this book. The mother is a whiney, self centered marshmallow of a woman, and her daughter Eva is SUCH a brat with no respect for her monther or anyone else that I wanted to scream. Yes I ride horses, and yes I am a horsewoman and this is probably why the storyline bothered me SO very much.
All very predictable but in such an annoying way, like nails Having read Riding Lessons, I figured I would continue on with Flying Changes. All very predictable but in such an annoying way, like nails on a blackboard. The moms very predictable blow up over the earings, the daughters hissy fit on the XC course, gawd. I really did expect better. I guess its difficult to write a really good story involving women and their horses.
View 1 comment. Jun 24, Nancy rated it it was ok. I will read any book about horses. This one is written by the author of the "goodread" Water for Elephants and it took me one long night to read it. Flying Changes is as cheesy as any horse tale out there. The characters seem one dimensional. The plot is simple, uninteresting, and poorly navigated. The experience of traumatic injury is misunderstood and misrepresented. So, why did I devour the pages? Simply because it is about horses.
If you do not love horses, do not read this book. I am quite I will read any book about horses. I am quite certain you will be disappointed if you expect the same quality novel as Water for Elephants. Feb 10, Su rated it it was ok. Well, I finished the book , so I figured it at least deserved two stars. I was very disappointed in it because I had read the novel Water For Elephants by the same author and absolutely loved it.
This was a story about equestrians, their horses, their love lives, their past problems etc. I guess there was a prequel to it, but I have no desire to go back and read it. I guess I would just describe it as poor chick lit. May 15, Jenny rated it it was ok. How can this be the same author as the one who wrote Water for Elephants? Similar to Admission, which I recently finished, Flying Changes also has a lates self-centered somewhat pathetic female protagonist who I almost had to abandon midway through.
Skip this one, even if you did spend more of your youth on rather than off horses! Oct 14, Jessie Seymour rated it really liked it Shelves: Water for Elephants was truly incredible, but the Riding Lessons series seems like it was written by another person entirely. But it's good to know that Sara Gruen got so much better as a writer. But let's talk about Flying Changes. I liked this sequel better than Riding Lessons. Annemarie was the absolute worst in the first book, and despite her still have many flaws in here, she wasn't nearly as annoying to me.
Her incompetence and poor parenting were much more under control. She's gone from being a complete basket case to being only spastic. I liked the pace of the story as well. We moved quickly, but nothing ever felt rushed or glossed over.
And there was plenty of excitement that kept me wanting to read just one more chapter. There are a lot of big moments in the book that would otherwise have you thinking "how does this much happen to one family," but Sara Gruen still pieced everything together to make the story believable.
The plot made up for characters who weren't the most likable. Overall, the characters in this series could have been better. They were almost too extreme.
But the story itself is solid, and I'm finishing these books feeling satisfied. Jul 08, Jamie rated it did not like it. The main character and her daughter are both illogical, irrational, and down right annoying. I didn't think it was possible, but this book was more unrealistic than it's predecessor.
A 16 year old who has gotten lessons here and there up until a year prior and then became serious about riding for a year would not be abl 1. A 16 year old who has gotten lessons here and there up until a year prior and then became serious about riding for a year would not be able to perform a "perfect" piaffe, passage, canter pirouette, or tempi changes.
Not to mention on a 7 year old horse that no one can ride?! It is SO off-putting, and anyone who knows anything about Dressage would laugh and roll their eyes. There are several other laughable moments in this book that really makes it seem like the author opened a book of terms, or used Google for every single horse thing possible. Even the romance was annoying! Like I said previously, Annemarie must be one hot lady, and the only one in town, to keep any sort of man, what with her split personalities.
She bounces between having no spine and letting her daughter walk all over her, and overreacting at small things while remaining entirely selfish.
I just, ughhh AT ALL Jul 03, stephanie rated it really liked it Shelves: chicklit , horses , animals. Sep 04, Susy Goelkel rated it it was ok. I'm so upset. What a waste of my time. One bad ride, makes her a weak and insecure woman and terrible mother. Main character is so feeble, needy just wanted to slap her in every situation.
No wonder her daughter is a brat and such a bitch at I finished it because of book club. Where is the women who wrote Water for Elephants? Feb 21, Angelique Simonsen rated it did not like it. I loved water for elephants so thought I would love this but found it weak. Jan 11, Jenniferpawlik rated it did not like it. I didn't realize this was book 2 until I finished it. Regardless, I didn't enjoy it.
Neither the main character nor her daughter were strong females; they were dramatic in a ridiculous way. As they finish the last jump Annemarie senses something is wrong. Three weeks later, a physically broken Annemarie learns that a bone in Harry's hoof shattered leading to Harry humanely shot dead right there. Annemarie recovers from a broken neck and other major injuries with only the drugs keeping her out of depression.
Click here to see the rest of this review. She loses her job documenting software, her spouse Roger leaves her, and she learns that her father is dying from Lou Gehrig's disease. Though returning to the family's New Hampshire Maple Brook Riding Academy means reliving her nightmare Annemarie knows she must as she was her dad's greatest hope and his greatest disappointment. Accompanied by her obdurate know it all teenage daughter she needs to see her dad before he dies.
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This first novel by Sara Gruen, Riding Lessons , is a deftly woven tale of tragic loss and eventual redemption. At the age of eighteen, at the apex of a promising career as an Olympic-caliber rider, Annemarie Zimmer suffers a fall that ultimately claims the life of her beloved horse, Harry, and leaves her struggling to recover from her severe injuries. Twenty years later, her life is crumbling before her weary eyes. Annemarie is downsized out of her job, her daughter is stirring up typical teenage trouble, her husband leaves her for a much younger woman, and her father is diagnosed with an incurable, debilitating disease.
And believe it or not, things deteriorate even farther from there. Annemarie returns home with her daughter, Eva, to the place where her Olympic dreams lay tattered on a shelf, heavy with dust and cobwebs. What are the odds that another horse bears such an unusual striped pattern? Thinking they are closely related, Annemarie does some research.
What she finds is enough to send her teetering-on-the-edge life careening over the brink of her control. Gruen does a wonderful job creating rich, complex characters in this first novel.
Together, all of it makes a more-than-believable story — every sentence rings true to the reader, the characters have deep motivation and emotionality, and the setting is as vivid as a watercolor painting. As a former horseback rider, who drifted away from the passion toward a life of domestic responsibilities, I can empathize with Annemarie and the choices she made along the way.
Her plight is inspiring, and I find myself flipping through the phone book for local stables in, looking for the right place to start riding again. If Annemarie can find herself again amidst stall cleaning and tending horses, then maybe there is hope for this old mom yet! As the book says, "Horsepower is Click here to learn more about this month's sponsor!