Thanks to Eileen Cody for this wonderful review at Horse Nation:

“Lee Hope’s Horsefever may be a romance first and foremost, but it also tells the story of the highs and lows of breaking into upper-level equestrian competition and what — or whom — it takes to get there. So if you’re “not a romance person,” just trust me on this one; I came for the horses too, and I stayed because I suddenly found myself unable to put it down.”

Click here to read the review in full!

SHARE THIS PAGE
Share
Read more

Grateful to Jan Marry for this review at Library Journal: “An exciting insider portrayal of the affluent and insular world of horse eventing along with a moving portrait of two marriages and the costs of trying for athletic perfection.”

Check out what else Jan had to say on the reviews page.

 

SHARE THIS PAGE
Share
Read more

“This is a sexy serious novel, also a seriously sexy one! There’s a kind of near mysticism at the heart of it, a tantric knot. Sexuality and spirituality seem inextricably bound together in a way I have never before encountered.”

-Richard Hoffman

This week, I discussed Horsefever with friend, acclaimed writer, and fellow Solstice Magazine editor, Richard Hoffman. The full conversation is available at Fiction Writers Review.

 

SHARE THIS PAGE
Share
Read more

Horsefever was just reviewed at Booklist Online. Many thanks to Maggie Reagan for her wonderful words:

Nikki Swensen has no interest in playing it safe. An eventer, she competes in what is one of the most perilous of equestrian sports, riding a horse at a breakneck pace over a multitude of cross-country hurdles. Nikki, who has a taste for difficult horses, has competitive drive in spades, but she fears the sport as much as she loves it—a dangerous combination. Afraid for her safety, Nikki’s reluctant husband hires the enigmatic Gabe, a formerly successful ex-eventer left half-crippled after an accident, to train her. As Gabe pushes Nikki to find her courage and connect with her horse, the connection between rider and trainer also grows, sending their respective spouses into a volatile tailspin of jealousy and catapulting them all toward tragedy. This atmospheric first novel thrusts readers into the intense, often seedy world of competitive horsemanship. Though the concept will certainly appeal to those interested in equine sports, the shifting character dynamics and tense plot will hook fans of suspense as well as horse lovers.

 

SHARE THIS PAGE
Share
Read more

A huge thank you to Horse Country Chic for this wonderful review of Horsefever:

“Hope has melded a perfect concoction in Horsefever – horses, a murder mystery, a little passion, some suspense, all wrapped around our four-legged friends. Add this one to your 2016 reading list.”

Read the whole review here!

SHARE THIS PAGE
Share
Read more

Yes, you can train a horse, dominate it, bend it to your rational will until it behaves like a subjugated creature, a servile beast, until it seems domesticated, “a good ride,” “bombproof.” And you can personify a horse, seek identification, turn it into a “character” in a novel, story, movie, poem.

In their own way, horses have character. Some seem to us docile, some joksters, some bitches, some narrow-eyed mean…some seem like actors, performing obedience while waiting for their moment to rebel. But all horses are herd bound, loyal to their own species first, and to us second, if bound to us at all.

So to what extent do we project our characters onto them? How much do we anthropomorphize them?

A horse is a nonhuman. Humans are predators while horses are creatures of prey.

Horses have survived through fear since prehistoric times…what power does fear give them? Fear can be a powerful driving force, which can lead them to survive. They know instinctively, telepathically, instantly, if you are in fear of them, no matter how hard you try to disguise your anxiety. A horse throws you up against your own fear, and if you cannot master yourself, horses can be deadly.

Let us not idealize the horse. You could die in an instant riding one, or even caring for one. It can bite, buck, bolt, trample, kick…so you must focus…learn its temperament. You must pay attention to the horse as a nonhuman character that can bring us face to face with the other.

Horses can bring us up against our deepest fears, as, for example, horses do to the human characters in my novel, Horsefever. As the horses act instinctively, so the two couples act impulsively even though they seek entanglement. Horses force the human characters to see that love is contradictory, that fear lies within, that death is imminent.

Horses stand separately from us…they have their own dignity…their own mystery…Yet we can learn to entangle ourselves with them, to feel into the horse…We can learn to relate human to nonhuman, and come to where we do not dominate, but to where we relate beyond ourselves…to where we transcend.

As the writer Lori Gruen says of “entangled empathy” with animals, ”It is a demanding reciprocity, a being together in pain that can be healed if shared. In becoming acquainted with what is outside the self, we enter into another kind of knowing.”

Pay attention to the animals, to the nonhumans outside of us.

Pay attention to the horse as character. Because the horse reveals our character.

 

 

SHARE THIS PAGE
Share
Read more