Horses, Hot Brazilians, and Horrifying Secrets
The story seems simple, a young girl wanting to break free from her wealthy family to find her own place in the world. But it’s so much more than that. Hannah has many stories to share. On the surface she seems so put together and determined, but the truth is she’s broken. I honestly don’t know who I rooted for more in this book, Hannah or the battered horse, Argus. My heart broke for Hannah. She’s strong and independents, yet trapped in an existence she desperately needs to break free from. Just like Argus-beaten and malnourished, he is timid and afraid. Argus is broken too.
When we first meet Hannah we get a glimpse into her wonderful life. She’s from a wealthy family, her boyfriend is a gorgeous Polo player, and she has a close relationship with her grandmother she adores. But a fire that claims the lives of her grandmother and her horse uncover what really lies beneath the surface.
Hannah can’t seem to please her rigid father and her boyfriend is extremely possessive. She inherits her grandmother’s ranch, but both of the men in her life want her to sell it. They don’t understand her emotional attachment to it. The more she tries to convince them that the ranch is her future, the more they fight her about it. The more she fights with her boyfriend, Eric, the more she notices changes in him.
Enter Leonardo Fernandes. A polo star from
who moves with his family to a nearby ranch. When he finds Hannah on the side
of the road, trying to catch a runaway Argus, he’s mesmerized by her. Their
share loved of horses and how to care for them brings them closer together. Leo
doesn’t hide his feelings for Hannah which enrages Eric, releasing a dark and
sinister side he’s hidden. When Leo tries to claim his girlfriend and his
number rank in the polo world, Eric snaps.
As Eric’s violent tendencies escalate, Hannah finds herself trapped in his grasp. She wants to break free from him, but she doesn’t have the courage, strength, or help she needs to do so. Or does she? In Leo and Argus she discovers that what can be broken can also be fixed. Healing Argus means healing her own wounds and the bond that forms between these two battered beings is so breath-taking. They give each other the strength and support they both so desperately need.
Breaking the Reins reminded me how much I love stories that involve relationships other than just romance. I loved Leo and Hannah’s story; how they interacted together and worked together to help Argus. But I also really loved Hannah’s relationship with Argus. She was reluctant to take him in, unsure of her ability to help heal his wounds. The love they find reminded me of my childhood favorites Black Beauty and The Black Stallion. Watching them both learn to trust each other is heart warming.
Juliana Haygert’s writing is filled with a grace and elegance that sweeps you off your feet. Her characters are complex and watching those complexities unravel is fascinating and surprising. I was stunned by the rage and evil that consumes Eric, and the lengths he will go to to get everything he wants. When the truth comes out you will be horrified and shocked. But the courage and love from Hannah, Leo, and Argus is inspiring. I laughed, I cried, I swooned, and then I did it all over again. I couldn’t put this book down.The ending was real, providing both the emotional high and the hidden scars the characters will have to learn to live with. I can't wait to read more from this author.