Published August 14th 2013
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Horses, mansions, tea parties, and lies are twenty-year-old Hannah Taylor’s life. To others, her family and her relationship with Eric is perfect. But she knows the truth. She lives it.
After a fire takes her grandma’s life and kills her horse, Hannah’s immaculate life spirals out of control. Her father disapproves of her decision to run her grandma’s ranch instead of focusing solely on learning the family business; Animal Control brings her Argus, a mistreated horse that she can’t turn away even though she’s not ready for another horse; and her boyfriend, Eric Bennett, a world famous polo player, becomes possessive and authoritarian. Despite her best efforts to disguise it, Hannah grows wary of him.
Then, Leonardo Fernandes struts onto the polo scene. A cocky rookie with a messy life of his own, he’s drawn to Hannah and isn’t afraid of showing it, even when Eric makes it clear she is his and he’ll do whatever it takes to keep it that way. Hannah suffers for Eric’s jealousy. The abuse only gets worse when Leo steals the title of best polo player in the world from Eric.
But the title isn’t enough for Leo. He wants Hannah too, and she can’t deny her attraction to him either. Somehow, she must find a way to break free from abusive Eric before he breaks every bone in her body.
About the Author
While Juliana Haygert dreams of being Wonder Woman, Buffy, or a blood elf shadow priest, she settles for the less exciting—but equally gratifying—life of a wife, mother, and author. Thousands of miles away from her former home in Brazil, she now resides in Connecticut and spends her days writing about kick-ass heroines and the heroes who drive them crazy.
Haygert's style of writing did not grab at the first page, it felt generic and vague to me. However, I really liked the premise of the novel, so I pushed through. As the novel progressed, I felt myself becoming more engaged with the character's and the writing. I am not sure if it was because I got used to the style of writing or if it improved - either way, I was pleased when the story started flowing and I began reading the pages more quickly.
I was supplied an ecopy of Breaking the Reins for this review, and though, generally, I do not have a problem with reading in this format, I feel this novel is best experienced in printed format. Why? Leo and half of the main character's in this novel are Brazilian and Haygert impressively added in some Portuguese words and phrases for them. I loved the added diversity to the novel and the fact that I now know a handful of Portuguese words, but the glossary for the translations are at the front of the novel and I was constantly have to go back and forth between the pages. In an ebook this is quite annoying. So yes, a printed copy would have enrich my reading experience.
I really felt sad for Hannah throughout Breaking the Reins, and not only for her losing her grandma and horse in a fire or even having her boyfriend beat on her. Don't get me wrong, those are sad and terrible things, but what really made me feel for her most, is that she didn't really have anyone that truly cares about her and what she wants. Eric just wanted Hannah for her pretty face and the power she could potentially bring him. Her parents just want her to do what she's told, no questions asked and no matter what Hannah wanted. When she started dating Eric, she drifted from her friends, so doesn't really have any. The closest thing that she has to a friend is Jimmy, the stable hand. I thought that Hannah would become close friends with Beatriz, Leo's twin sister, but nothing really came of it... though the novel did finish with the potential for that to become something, so that made me happy for her.
When I sat down to read Breaking the Reins, I couldn't really remember what the synopsis had told me about the book, just that it had horses, polo, and a girl lusting after a boy she shouldn't. I think that I got more out of the book not knowing that Eric is abusive before I started reading. This way, I was able to travel the same road as Hannah and feel the same shock she did the first time that he hits her. So my point? The synopsis should've have given away one of, really the only, plot twist in the novel.
Breaking the Reins will take you on a rollercoaster of emotions leaving you exhausted by the end but strangely satisfied.
3 out of 5