Wednesday 3 September 2014

Review ~ Stable Mates by Zara Stoneley.

Title: Stable Mates.
Author: Zara Stoneley.
Publisher: HarperImpulse.
Genre: Women's Fiction.
Publication Date: September 4, 2014.
Source: Review copy.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Purchase: Amazon UK

Secrets and scandals, love and lust – when the ‘Cheshire Set’ are up against the ‘Footballer’s Wives’ the only common ground is carnal…

Flirting and fun seem the perfect antidote for Lottie's battered heart, and where better to find them than back in tranquil Tippermere, home of sexy eventer Rory Steel, the smiling Irish eyes of hunky farrier Mick O'Neal, and mysterious newcomer, model Tom Strachan?

But when landowner Marcus James drops dead unexpectedly, and the threat of his waggish wife Amanda selling the heart of the village out from under them looms large, things look like they're about to heat up in and out of the saddle.

With tensions running high, and the champagne flowing as freely as the adrenalin, is it any wonder that love catches more than one of them unawares?

So you should never judge a book by its cover but I LOVE the cover for Stable Mates. It also fits the book brilliantly and a great book it was too. Stable Mates is a fun read, a little saucy with lots of humour. Yet Zara puts so much more than that into this book – with feuds, romance, footballers and their wives and plenty of drama, this is non-stop entertainment and instead of just focusing on our main character Lottie’s life, we’re drawn into the stories of plenty of other characters too.

I have to admit that when I read the Residents of Tippermere list at the beginning of this book, I was a little apprehensive because there were a lot of characters and I am practically incapable of keeping up in books with so many characters. I understood with the setting that lots of characters added to the overall story but for me, there were a couple of characters I felt really didn’t need to be there. It took me a while before I could form opinions on or connect with some of the supporting characters. I did think that Zara did a good job at developing a lot of these characters though and building up some of the stereotypes and their traditions, and I know there’s more to come from the characters here so I’m looking forward to Zara’s next book.

The synopsis touches on some of the hunks featured in this book and I was definitely won over here! My favourites, because I couldn’t choose just one, were Rory and Mick. Rory was kind of clueless, a big flirt and a lot of fun. He brought a lot of the humour to the book but then he had a more serious, though not too serious, side too. As for Mick – well he was Irish so that appealed to me pretty much instantly anyway. He was charming and kept proving me wrong in some of my theories about him…

The writing of horses, and dogs, in this book definitely suggests that Zara knows a thing or two about the impact animals can have on normal, everyday life. I thought there were lots of traits to relate to and animals were just another strong addition to this entertaining novel. A lot of the themes in this book reminded me of the Tilly Bagshawe novels I love, with all the scandal and drama. I don’t think I’ve read another author who writes in that kind of style without finding negative comparisons but Zara Stoneley comes into her own – I loved her style of writing and as this story was building up to the end, it kept on getting better. Stable Mates is different to a lot of women’s fiction novels around at the moment and it was a really impressive read.

Review also posted on Goodreads | Amazon UK

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