Saturday, 15 June 2013

Race the Wind, by Lauren St John

Race the Wind is Lauren St John’s second book following the story of Casey Blue and her horse, Storm, and begins exactly where The One Dollar Horse left off. It is the morning after Casey’s dramatic Badminton Horse Trials, but all is not well in the house. If Casey thought life was going to be easy and full of roses after defeating all the odds stacked against her in One Dollar Horse, she was wrong. Just when it seems St John couldn’t throw anything else or anything new at Casey, guess what? She does.

Hands down to St John for writing a book in Race the Wind that does pretty much exactly the same thing as The One Dollar Horse does, and yet is as equally enjoyable and satisfying. This time, Casey’s father’s criminal past has come back to haunt her. Or not so much his criminal past, but the implication of a criminal present, and this time it’s even worse: he’s been arrested for murder. He’s adamant that he’s innocent, and Casey believes him, but will it get in the way of her friendships? And what can she do to prove his innocence? Nothing, it would seem. At first, anyway. Surely he has to have been set up. But why? And by whom?

To add to Casey’s worries, not only does a creepy guy seem to be following her, but Storm is acting up and seems to have reverted to his wild self, refusing to let her near him. And then things crystallise: blackmail is on the cards. Those responsible for her father’s detention want Casey to win the next big championship, the Kentucky Horse Trials. Can she do it? And even if she can, should she acquiesce to their demands?

Race the Wind is fast-paced and contains everything that made The One Dollar Horse a bestseller: tension, moral questions, friendships to be made and frayed, dreams to be fought for. Covering just a period of weeks, as opposed to the two years that passed in book one, it’s a shorter book that reaches its conclusions and finds its footing faster than its precursor. It’s no less satisfying, though, and I can’t wait to see what trials and tribulations will be thrown Casey’s way in the promised third book. Presumably St John will take us to The Burghley Horse Trials, the third event in the Eventing Grand Slam - although I wouldn’t put it past her to change the game...

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