|Blaze of Glory by M Garzon $14.95 (paperback)|
Let me start out by saying this: I am in no way a fan of the romance/life drama genre of books. Actually, I'm more of the classic literature type of booknerd, and I've spent more time reading works by authors such as James Joyce, and William Faulkner, and Oscar Wilde, than anything else. It's rare I'd ever consider doing a book review on book that falls into a genre, I find to be a general disgrace to the world of literature.
That being said, I in no way agreed to do this book, without KNOWING full well that there was going to be a lot of cliché "romance themes", and "life drama". However, when doing a book review, regardless of one's prior experience with a genre, one must learn to go into it with an open mind, and that is precisely what I did.
Blaze of Glory by M Garzon, focuses on the life of Tea, a 17 year old girl with a rebellious attitude, her brother Seth, and the stepfather, Dec(lan) who adopted them when their mother died, and his famous pro-polo player and "golden child" nephew, Jaden.
Tea has the kind of attitude most 17 year old's have, as she seems to actively search out things that will inevitably make her stepfather angry. Tea has a horse named Blaze, whom she is training as a jumper, and has already received a lot of buzz about her abilities.
The story starts out with Tea and Seth's cousin Jaden, coming to town, after being away for five years. Their stepfather Dec, is thrilled as Jaden is his "favourite nephew". Tea takes an immediate disliking of the fact that her family fawns over Jaden and his life as a high profile, world traveling polo player, whom is now attending law school. A goody-two shoes, who she believes has lead an ultra privileged life, and doesn't understand the trials of living like her and her brother Seth-- balancing high school and a social life, with all the hard work of maintaining the stables and boarded horses at their stepfather's farm.
Tea spends a lot of her time in this story coaching lessons, and training her horse Blaze, on jumping courses. She manages to send Dec into fits of anger, with her forgetfulness of jumping without wearing a helmet, among other moments of forgetfulness of riding safety. We find out the kind of anger problems Dec has, when Tea and her friend Teri decide to take up "secret" jobs at the racetrack, as exercisers, to help pay for her entry fee in the biggest competition, The Royal. The track is forbidden territory, and Tea makes sure that the week her and Teri are working, that Dec is out on business. The first few days go off without a hitch. Then, as she's taking a horse back to the stables, she sees, to her horror, her cousin Jaden. After a heated argument about how Dec would be VERY displeased with her being there, Jaden tells Tea that as long as she ceases working the rest of the week at the track, he'll keep the whole thing from Dec. She gives a false promise and continues work, and is again, found out by Jaden, whom this time, doesn't take the situation lightly and basically hoists her over his shoulder in the most embarrassing manner possible and carries her out of the track, with her "kicking and screaming", the whole way. Because of the break of trust, Jaden tells Dec what Tea was up to while he was away, and Dec's truly dark side emerges. Tea basically blacklists Jaden for his betrayal, deeming him a nuisance that's going to ruin her life if he has the ability to do so. She challenges him at every possible opportunity, making it a pretty strained relationship early on.
There was plenty of horse-related storyline here, to please anyone with an interest in horses, but don't buy this book thinking that it's the focus of the story. I'll admit, there was enough horse-speak that I had to look a few things up, to figure out what in the world the characters were talking about, but other than that, horses seem to be an after-thought compared to the somewhat, "forbidden love" romance aspect of the story.
The cast of characters each add their own significant importance in the story, and none seem too under developed. Tea, the main focus of the story, is a witty, highly intelligent 17 year old, whose antics are somewhat humorous, if you are an adult reading this story, as you've probably done comparably silly things. If you're reading this as a teenager, I'd assume that some of her misadventures, will be highly relate-able.
The mid-story tragedy that Tea experiences is the turning point of the book, and from that point on is where the story starts taking a rather, well, peculiar turn, as Tea is faced with some strong emotions, that if let known, her family will likely chastise and possibly disown her over. The rest of the story we venture down the road of depression and the darker aspects of Tea's life, as she tries her hardest to get back to the "norm"--something that is seemingly unattainable. Her cousin, Jaden-- whom she finds out is anything but the poster child for "good behaviour"-- becomes an important aspect of her life, as he becomes her "shoulder to cry on", and acts as a diffuser between her and Dec, when things get rough. Things become increasingly difficult between Tea and Dec, as she continues to toe the lie of acceptable behavior and down right rebellious/stupid teen shenanigans.
Overall, M Garzon wrote a fine piece of romantic-fiction. It has all the basic romance genre elements (the tragedy, and the trials of forbidden love). The big "plot twist", was expected, as the entire beginning of the story was eluding to it. You'll see it coming a mile away, but it doesn't make the idea any less "scandalous". The author does a good job of mixing some real-life teenage situations, into her work of fiction; no being afraid to spotlight some of the "darker" sides of teenage rebellion, there are significant amounts of the book highlighting misadventures of alcohol and drug use, sex, and the effects of depression and peer pressure.
If your cup of tea centers around the world of the harlequin romance novel, and you happen to also have a love of the world of horses, I highly suggest picking up a copy of this book. You'll be sucked into the scandalous love affair that this book revolves around, the tragedies that life throws us all, along with all the crazy adventures and trials of the highly likeable characters, you'll be glued to this book. (If you're like me, and the mere idea of "romance novel" turns your stomach, I'd steer clear of this one! )
The book is apparently scheduled to be a major tv series, so if you're interested in buying this book, grab a copy on amazon! You know, so you can say you read the book "before it was a hit tv series" ;)
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.tomoson.com/?code=BOTTOM8f94bb7d47dd21a37ea667583dc972d3">Tomoson.com</a>. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.