Jenna’s been scraping by as a horse masseuse, barely coming up with enough money to finance her little sister’s education while patching up their leaky roof, keeping her rusted out car on the road, and sneaking supplies to take care of her old horse Peanut. But when the equine health and training center where she works is bought out and the fancy new boss shows up, it looks like her livelihood and maybe even her heart will be on the line.
Judging Covers: Don’t get me wrong; the cover image is beautiful. However, it doesn’t even begin to illustrate how much fun and how romantic this book is. To tell you the truth, I didn’t even mean to grab this book — I simply clicked on the wrong cover by accident, and then when I read the synopsis and saw it was free, I figured I’d give it a shot. Were it not for my bad navigation, I would have missed a wonderful story.
The Verdict: Wow. It’s no wonder Bev Petterson’s books win awards. I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect when I cracked this one open, but what I got was much more than I could have hoped for.
Jenna is uneducated but smart, incredibly compassionate and strong-willed, independent and determined, and absolutely hilarious. She says what she thinks and doesn’t hesitate to do whatever’s necessary to protect those she loves, even if that means stealing. Normally, that would big a big turn-off — unless the story was about some brilliant art thief or something — but in this case, it was more of a testament to her character than a flaw. She didn’t like it, but it’s what was necessary to get medication for the ailing horse she’d had since she was a child, and I couldn’t fault her for that. Her smart mouth and quick wit had me laughing throughout the book, especially when her honesty threw Burke for a loop. He was used to being in control, surrounded by luxury, but he quickly warmed to her dilapidated porch and spitfire nature.
Burke was a typical, somewhat spoiled businessman, and even as he began to appreciate Jenna and all her eccentricities, he still thought in terms of dollars and cents. But his sweet side came out in the way he did little but important things for her, his work always silently apologizing for his latest transgression. Most romances with a character like Burke have him softening up too soon, practically splitting his personality in a rushed attempt to get to the good stuff. But not this one. Burke may have fallen for Jenna, but he didn’t abandon his business mind or his gruff nature, protecting his heart right up until the end. It made him a much more interesting and believable character than I’m used to reading about.
The romance was also both entertaining and unusual. Jenna and Burke were quick to trade barbs and rile each other up, a flirty game they played as they gave into attraction while still remaining a bit aloof. And instead of Jenna pining over the big guy and wishing he’d sweep her off her feet, she was so stubbornly independent that she avoided feelings altogether until it was almost too late.
Thoroughbreds and Trailer Trash wasn’t at all what I expected, but it was definitely a stellar read. Heartfelt romance, a twist of suspense, down-to-earth and believably flawed characters, explosive chemistry, and witty, entertaining dialog… Pretty much everything I could hope for in a romance novel.