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Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite
Backstretch Girls: A Novel by Dawn LeFevre is a wonderful novel for sports fans, especially horse racing. They meet in the most dramatic of ways: "Two seconds later, the horse blew past and Teagan caught a glimpse of the rider’s face. No one she knew, just a young pretty girl, probably some jockey wannabe who landed at the stable gate with nothing but a headful of Derby dreams." They are two girls with two different, distinct backgrounds and personalities, but sharing the same dream. While Teagan Sullivan comes from a big family of Olympic equestrians to whom she has been a huge disappointment in the show ring, she craves one thing now: redemption. When she first meets Anne Simmons, Anne is riding one of the fiercest and most unforgiving horses. Teagan is there to save her from a devastating moment. Anne finds herself ponying horses instead of riding races while Teagan must work herself up to redeem herself for her past failures. A moment does come for the two girls to face their deepest fears. Will horse racing’s richest race, the Breeder’s Cup Classic, be their chance at redemption or another moment of humiliation?
This is a stellar novel. Brilliantly written, the plot is ingenious. The characters are exceptional and I fell in love with Teagan and Anne from the very moment I met them. I wanted to see how they would evolve in the story. Teagan is an experienced rider and it is interesting how her relationship with her roommate develops. The prose is excellent and the vividness in the descriptions gives it a cinematic quality that makes it enjoyable. The action is intense and the scenes are emotionally charged. The tension builds up steadily until the decisive moment, culminating in an explosive climax. Backstretch Girls: A Novel has strong and well-developed characters, a gripping plot, and a conflict that drives the story forward in powerful ways. Dawn LeFevre is a master entertainer, a writer who keeps it very real.