Book Review: Chasing the Wind

Chasing the Wind (Aspen Valley Series, Book 5) by Hannah Hooton

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Synopsis

CHAMPIONS ARE MADE BY THE ADVERSITIES THEY OVERCOME.

When tragedy strikes Aspen Valley Stables, racehorse trainer Jack Carmichael is in danger of losing everything – his wife, his reputation, his sanity… then in walks Lucy Kendrick, a young reporter, all set to shadow him.

Every journalist has an agenda and Lucy is no different. Can she uphold her cover when charismatic jockey Finn O’Donaghue makes her want to be no one but herself?

The Grand National beckons once more, but when the yard’s runners start to fall foul of the authorities, the future of Aspen Valley Stables is threatened. Is the wreckage that is his personal life compromising Jack’s ability to train or is there something more sinister going on?

-from Amazon.com

Review

In July of 2014, I reviewed Share & Share Alike, which is the 3rd book in this series, and fell in love with the characters at Aspen Valley. So I was thrilled when Hannah Hooton asked if I would review her latest, Chasing the Wind.

If you remember my last review, my only “complaint” of the third book was that I wanted more focus on the horse racing side of things. Well, Chasing the Wind definitely delivered! This time the focus is on Aspen Valley’s trainer, Jack Carmichael, so the reader is thrown into the thick of all things steeple chasing. You are reintroduced to characters you’ve met in previous series installments and to one very important new character as they go through the ups and downs of running a racing yard.

And unfortunately things are not all sunshine and roses at Aspen Valley. In fact, just about everything that can go wrong is going wrong. While I do want to give a slight warning, I also don’t want to spoil any part of this novel. But this book starts off with a very tragic death and things get bleaker before they start looking better.

I mentioned last time that Hooton did a wonderful job fleshing out her characters and that bears repeating. Every single character, including the horses, feels real and has their own motivation for everything they do. In fact, the entire world of Aspen Valley is so detailed that I would not be surprised if you told me it really existed.

One thing that I’ve seen writers struggle with in racing novels is the repetition of the races. Hooton doesn’t have that problem. There are a lot of races in this book but each feels exciting and fresh. I also like that you get to experience races for a bunch of different Aspen Valley horses.

Final Thoughts

I highly recommend this book if you are at all interested in horse racing (or more correctly, chasing). Hooton’s strong, effortless writing will pull you into the story and keep you guessing around every turn. You also don’t need to read any of the previous books to understand what is happening and enjoy the story as a complete stand alone.

After this novel, I’m sold. I am definitely adding the other books in the Aspen Valley series to my “To Read” list and I recommend you all do as well.

Previously reviewed books in this series

Share & Share Alike (Aspen Valley Book 3)