The Perils of Autumn


Fiction - Drama
430 Pages
Reviewed on 01/27/2019
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Canadian Indie author, Rusty Blackwood, has a unique flair for imagery in words, that of which she has demonstrated through the ten titles she has published beginning in 2009 up to the present. The Perils of Autumn is her eleventh title and will be followed by a second in the story, entitled Return to Autumn.

Rusty was born in St. Thomas, Ontario, and now resides in the Niagara city of St. Catharines.

Regarding the creation of this novel, Rusty chose to combine three subjects that she has always admired. Her admiration for nurses, and the compassionate care they give in an often thankless world; unwed mothers from years gone by who very often were faced with ridiculous standards of the times, and finally, her love of horses, and the immense talents they possess, so she decided to combine all three of these topics in The Perils of Autumn.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Trudi LoPreto for Readers' Favorite

In The Perils of Autumn by Rusty Blackwood, we meet Autumn and her mother, Abigail, learn of their early struggles through flashbacks, and then join them in their 1970 present life. Abigail owns a dress shop and Autumn has graduated and earned her nursing cap. One of her first assignments is to live at the Landon Lawn Stables in the prestigious Meadows of Lexington, Kentucky and care for the dying Alice Landon. She is welcomed by Cyril, the husband, and quickly blends right into the household, becoming close with Alice and a great support to Cyril. When Alice passes, Autumn is asked to remain and help with the transition of missing Alice. Autumn has always loved all kinds of animals and when Cyril offers to teach her to ride, she jumps at the chance. Cyril and Autumn soon find themselves in love against the strong protests of Abigail and Agnes, the housekeeper and Cyril's childhood friend.

I loved reading The Perils of Autumn. This book has it all and more; love, family, the equestrian world and the racing that goes with it, but most of all the characters. I cannot say enough good things about The Perils of Autumn and how much I enjoyed reading it. There is so much going on throughout the book that it is impossible to lose interest or want to stop reading. All of the pieces are delightfully put together to make The Perils of Autumn a book that will make you smile, cry, laugh and treasure it. Rusty Blackwood must know her way around horse shows to write such an accurate accounting and certainly knows how to create characters that quickly become alive and your next best friends. As I finished and was reading the words from Rusty Blackwood, I was thrilled to learn there will be a follow-up and I could continue my journey with Autumn and Cyril in Return to Autumn. Please do not pass up The Perils of Autumn - you will not be sorry.

Christian Sia

The Perils of Autumn by Rusty Blackwood is literary fiction with an intriguing setting in Kentucky in the 1970s, a dramatic tale of romance with interesting characters. Autumn Leeves has been raised by her single mom who succeeds in getting her through Lexington School of Nursing. Her first job is to take care of the dying wife of Cyril Landon, an English equestrian master. Cyril owns a thoroughbred racing stable, Landon Lawns Stables, which is very popular in Lexington. When his wife dies, he asks Autumn to stay a bit longer with him and get some horse riding classes. In spite of her mother's misgivings, Autumn laughs it off — what can possibly happen between her and a man 35 years older. She couldn't be more wrong, for soon affection deepens and transforms into an attraction.

This is a beautiful story with strong plot points and great characters. The Perils of Autumn looks at a love affair between two people with a huge age gap. The pacing isn't fast, but the writing is focused, which compels readers to read on. There is a lot of backstory which I think could have been written into the dialogues; however, it enriches the plot rather than becoming a distraction for readers. The characters are written with rich backgrounds and readers can follow their growth process alongside the build up of the romance between Cyril and Autumn. Rusty Blackwood has what it takes to keep readers engaged — the realism that fills the story, the well-crafted scenes, the humanity of the characters which is explored in depth.

Ray Simmons

I am a fan of romance and good writing. These two come together perfectly in Rusty Blackwood’s The Perils of Autumn. I hesitate to call it a romance novel because in my mind that term implies a formulaic book, written quickly, and meant to be read quickly before moving on to the next one, which will be just like it in style and structure. I will call The Perils of Autumn a novel of romance. The writing and the story come first. The romance just blossoms naturally, just as it does in real life. That is why I liked The Perils of Autumn. The writing took me away long before the romance had even blossomed. I had never read a story about an unwed mother in the 1940s. Popular culture would have you believe they didn’t exist at that time.

I have to say the writing was the strongest attraction for me as I read The Perils of Autumn. However, it is hard to say if that attraction would have been so strong without such great characters as Autumn and her mother, Abigail. I fell in love with Abigail as she made the very best of a very bad situation. A lot of people would have become bitter and unlikable. She went in the opposite direction and became more lovable with each turn of the page. She raised her daughter in an environment of love, and that is an accomplishment any time. These two characters appealed to me very strongly and kept me engaged throughout the story. The plot was good too and became more complex as the story progressed. It was also fun to learn so much about this area of the country known for horses and racing. All in all, The Perils of Autumn is a great romantic read.

K.C. Finn

The Perils of Autumn is a work of dramatic fiction penned by author Rusty Blackwood, focusing on equestrian and country living in 1970s Kentucky. We first meet title character Autumn when she is born into post war austerity in 1946, and watch her and her mother struggle until Autumn has achieved a job as a qualified nurse. When Autumn takes a job caring for the terminally ill wife of a wealthy racehorse stable owner, her life takes on a whole new twist. Cyril Landon is an older man who bonds with Autumn over the death of his wife, nurturing in her a love of the horses he’s worked all his life. What follows is their drama in running the stables together.

Rusty Blackwood does a great job in crafting powerful characters to anchor the story at its true heart. Though it seems an unlikely romance amid the tragedy of Cyril’s wife and the misgivings of those around them, I found Autumn’s growing fondness for Cyril and his country life really endearing and I was glad that they came together despite prejudices. The drama at the stables with the other, smaller characters made for some interesting twists as the plot went on, and the spark of horse racing at The Meadows was a real insight into an exciting world I’d never really thought about before. Overall, The Perils of Autumn is an excellent life drama novel full of heart, strife and enjoyment, with a relatable heroine that all readers are sure to warm to.

Anne-Marie Reynolds

The Perils of Autumn by Rusty Blackwood is a romantic drama set primarily in the early 1970s in Kentucky. We start in 1946 when Autumn Leeves is a child. She and her unmarried mother are trying to make a life for themselves, trying to escape a world that looks down on them. As time goes on, Abigail settles into a job and Autumn qualifies as a nurse, eventually taking a private position as a nurse to terminally ill Alice Landon. When Alice dies, Autumn stays on, against her mother’s wishes, and soon gets to know Duff Taylor, a British jockey who rides for Landon Lawn stables. Hiding a very dark secret, Duff isn’t very well liked and Autumn soon finds herself embroiled in things she wished she’d stayed away from.

The Perils of Autumn by Rusty Blackwood is a steady story that covers quite a long time span, following the trials and tribulations of Autumn Leeves. It is centered firmly around horses and will likely appeal to fans of horse-racing novels. The characters were very well developed across the course of the story and the plot remained steady all the way through. There is plenty going on, with suspense, intrigue, romance and a little humor thrown in for good measure. Rusty Blackwood writes in a descriptive manner, slightly graphic at times but nothing too bad, leaving you feeling every emotion and being drawn into the story. It is a good story, perfect for those who want to escape from real life for several hours.

Divine Zape

Abigail Leeves loses her fiancé in a car crash en route to their April wedding. She is pregnant and gives birth to a daughter, Autumn. She raises her daughter alone and works hard to give her a decent life. After graduating from Lexington School of Nursing, Autumn works in two hospitals for a brief period and then accepts an assignment to care for Alice Landon, the wife of English equestrian master Cyril Landon, who is terminally ill. The ties between Autumn and the patient grow stronger every day and she feels at home in Landon Manor. But Alice eventually dies, and instead of her leaving Landon Manor, Cyril asks Autumn to stay a little longer and take riding lessons. It is not long before Autumn begins to feel the stirrings in her heart, and while she reasons that she can’t fall for a man thirty-five years older than her, the reality is different. The Perils of Autumn by Rusty Blackwood explores the workings of the heart and a romance that will surprise readers.

Told in a deceptively simple voice, this novel has so much to warm the heart of the reader. The characters are elaborately developed and their backgrounds skillfully explored. The author explores three interesting characters — Abigail, Autumn, and Cyril — and moves on to demonstrate how familiarity and simple gestures can guide the heart towards love. It is interesting to follow Autumn and Cyril, especially after the death of Alice. Her emotional struggles, torn between what she feels and the fears of her mother, are deftly handled. The characters in this book are real and likable, the plot is unusual, and the phraseology unique. The Perils of Autumn is written in a descriptive style. But the strength of the narrative is in the author’s ability to explore the hearts of the characters and the skillful handling of a romance that feels real.

Amy of Locks, Hooks and Books

The Perils of Autumn is my first introduction to Rusty Blackwood’s writing. Within the first few pages, I knew she had gained a new fan. This is a great read, with relatable characters and situations. I felt connected to Autumn right from the start.

The Perils of Autumn is getting a well deserved five stars from me. I can not wait to read more by this author in the future. I have added her other works on my wish list.

Highly recommended!

I received this book from the author, but was not required to write a review. This review is 100% my own honest opinion.