Sunday, September 16, 2012

Dark Horse by Kate Sherwood


Thank God, that's over with! This book clocked in at 382 pages on my ereader and nothing really happened before page 340. I was so disappointed. I mean, it had horses! And not just any horses - EVENT horses! You know, the dressage, the stadium jumping and the cross-country. I had high hopes.

To read the blurb about the book, I thought I was getting the story of Dan, the horse trainer, whose life intertwines with another horse trainer, Jeff and a rich stable owner, Evan. I expected a story with lots of physical heat and a lot of explorations of emotions as a polyamorous finds its feet. Did I get that? Nope.

Part One - almost 200 pages - was the study of Dan, the trainer, and how he's dealing with the death of his lover. We spend SO much time in Dan's head, being told how he feels ad nauseum. He meets Jeff and Evan and we're TOLD that sparks fly, but I honestly didn't see it. The author seems to think that we need to be told every last thing that happens to Dan in a day, including how he brushes his teeth, decides on the blue shirt or the white shirt, decides which horse to take out of its stall and which tack the horse is going to need. Minutiae! NOTHING happened to further the story.

And then came part two with more of the same, only this time, we've moved from Kentucky to California, so hopefully we'll be seeing more of Jeff and Evan and get this threesome on the road. They say the longest journey starts with a single step, but OH MY LORD, it took the author so long to pack the bag before taking that step! 

I never warmed up to Dan. He seemed very schizophrenic to me. We spend 9/10ths of the book inside his head and one moment he's this quiet, retiring fellow, then he's a predatory wolf looking for a fuck, then he's an unsure young man trying to do the best in his job, then he's a uneducated bumpkin with all this horrid stuff in his past - yes, this horrid stuff that supposedly had a lot to do in forming his character and we find out about in in the last fifth of the book! OH, by the way, Dan has a juvie record, an abusive father, and a younger sister. 

I never saw what it was that Evan and Jeff saw in him - at one point, I think it's Jeff who says something along the lines of, "I don't know how to explain it, Dan, but you just bring us into balance. You just do." Well, I'm sorry, I need to know HOW and WHY this can be. And then... when both Jeff and Evan confess to burgeoning feelings for this paragon of wonderfulness, all he wants is sex, hot and heavy. 

I don't know if the author had an editor for this book, but if she did, I sure couldn't tell. 

The story was advertised as being about the relationship, but ended up being an exploration of the ever-changing personality of Dan's head. Personally, I would have cut out three quarters of the manuscript and made the focus of the story the actual story of the blossoming relationship between the 3 men and how Dan learns to fit in at his new home in California. I understand there's a sequel to this book but I'm not hurrying off to get it. It makes me wonder if Dark Horse was written as a scene setter for the second book. A 400-page scene setter. OY! Sadly, I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone.

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