Horses, mansions, tea parties, and lies are twenty-year-old Hannah Taylor’s life. To others, her family and her relationship with Eric is perfect. But she knows the truth. She lives it.
After a fire takes her grandma’s life and kills her horse, Hannah’s immaculate life spirals out of control. Her father disapproves of her decision to run her grandma’s ranch instead of focusing solely on learning the family business; Animal Control brings her Argus, a mistreated horse that she can’t turn away even though she’s not ready for another horse; and her boyfriend, Eric Bennett, a world famous polo player, becomes possessive and authoritarian. Despite her best efforts to disguise it, Hannah grows wary of him.
Then, Leonardo Fernandes struts onto the polo scene. A cocky rookie with a messy life of his own, he’s drawn to Hannah and isn’t afraid of showing it, even when Eric makes it clear she is his and he’ll do whatever it takes to keep it that way. Hannah suffers for Eric’s jealousy. The abuse only gets worse when Leo steals the title of best polo player in the world from Eric.
But the title isn’t enough for Leo. He wants Hannah too, and she can’t deny her attraction to him either. Somehow, she must find a way to break free from abusive Eric before he breaks every bone in her body
I like surprises. Whether it’s finding $5 in the pocket of my jeans or unexpectedly winning something, I live for it. That is what made Breaking the Reins such a delight, it was a complete and utter surprise. I have to admit I wasn’t sure when I read the synopses if this book would grab me. While I am an unabashed dog lover I’ve never been one for horses (I blame being thrown from one when I was in middle school) but this book literally takes you by the rein and doesn’t let go.
While the book touches on some pretty horrific topics from animal abuse, to domestic violence and even murder, it is ultimately love and redemption that are the true focus of this story.
I was so taken with Juliana Haygert’s writing style. Let me just lay down 3 reasons I was completed sucked into this story.
1) The chemistry: From the very first minute that Hannah meets Leo their chemistry is electrifying. I was so enamored with the two that I almost did something I never do, which is sneak a peak at later chapters to see when they kiss! I didn’t do it I let the story unfold naturally but damn if I wasn’t tempted.
2) Argus: Ok, let’s analyze this for a second, Argus is a horse and Juliana infused him with such heart and soul that he literally became the star character of the story. Let me reiterate she wrote the character of a horse with such conviction that I was left weeping at the beauty of it.
3) Emotion: The character of Eric was one of the most sinister I have ever read. With that said, it took me a few days to finish the last three chapters simply because I hated him that much. When a book is able to invoke such strong feelings in a reader that they literally have to step away for fear of throwing their i-pad into the wall that is a testament to the skill of a writer.
My only complaint about Breaking the Reins was that at times the things that happened to Argus and Hannah were just gut wrenching to read. They are an integral part of the story but as a reader it was difficult. I also wish that Eric had shown his stripes sooner or that it was alluded to that his behavior was controlling prior in their relationship as it kind of seemed out of left field. But then again, he is painted as a true psychopath.
I read that Juliana was inspired to write this story after seeing the Britney Spears video for Radar. I have to agree, it does make for a fabulous story. This is a wholly different NA story, unique in its approach and execution. I highly recommend it.
But don’t take my word for it, check out this teaser!
I’m doing this new thing where I am trying to “cast” the books after I read them, while my Leo is a little different looking than the book this is who I imagined for Leo: Tyler Blackburn and Hannah: Shelley Henning