About six months ago, I had a stack of books on my nightstand. None of the spines were cracked. Now you must know that I NEVER crack the spine of a book for any reason. So the fact that the spines were not bent or mangled was not unusual. While the spines weren’t cracked, the books were unread. I was in a rut. Three stacks of books begging to be read, but I wasn’t reading anything. Not doing book reviews on my blog. Not even reading books for my Book Club.
About a month ago, I looked at the stack of books on my nightstand. One book at a time, I said to myself. I have opened and actually read some of these books. I know I’m surprised too! It was good to get back to reading after a break. Around this time I ran in to a local friend at my local pool. I knew my friend had written a book. I knew the book was a romance novel. But I didn’t know much more.
So as I was finishing up Jacquelyn Mitchard’s Theory of Relativity, I cracked open my friend’s new novel — Relentless. My friend very kindly gave me a copy. I told her I would read it. I wasn’t going to put the book anywhere near my “blackhole of a nightstand.” I stashed Relentless in my pool bag, so that I would have it when I needed it. As I dug in to Relentless, I was prepared for a romantic fiction. I was pleasantly surprised to find that my friend’s novel was so much more than a romance novel.
From the first couple of pages, I found myself drawn in to the story of Bren. I wanted to know more about Bren Ryan. Why was she so bitter? What had happened in her life to make her so distrustful of people? I soon found out that her husband had died under mysterious circumstances. Aaahhh, so that was why Bren was so sad. But, Bren had to stay strong. For her dad. Her father-in-law. Her horses. And most importantly of all, her boys.
So what happened to Tom Ryan? Was it murder? Or an accident? I found myself agreeing with Bren that it couldn’t have been an accident. Tom Ryan, Bren’s husband, was an accomplished farmer and horseman. Surely he would never have become tangled in those ropes in the barn? The facts were clear to me, as they were to Bren, that someone else was involved. But, who? And, why can’t Bren convince anyone to listen to her suspicions and fears? The police won’t listen. Her family think she is grief stricken and that she should focus on her children. But, Bren knows what she needs to do.
On top of everything Bren still has a farm to run. Bren and Tom ran a horse rescue farm, which Bren now is in charge of. What was most interesting to me is that P.J. O’Dwyer used the Maryland horse country as the setting for her novel, Relentless. I live in Maryland…not exactly in true blue horse country, but in a semi-rural community where quite a number of friends are horse people. I’m deep in 4H and Pony Club land, too. My kids have a number of friends who don’t play soccer or baseball, but instead ride horses in shows. Since I know very little about horses, the horse rescue industry, and especially the very thorny topic of illegal horse slaughter, I was compelled to read more. Like Bren, I had to find out who killed Tom. Was there a connection between Tom’s death and the deaths of some very famous horses? I can tell you that I NEEDED to read on!
As I plunged deeper and deeper in to Relentless, I saw how O’Dwyer had artfully and effectively married the world of the horse rescue industry with a budding romance between Bren and new-in-town-and-ready-for-any-rescue Rafe with a murder mystery. Relentless is a three-fer. What is that word that is used in horse racing? That’s it! Trifecta! O’Dwyer has written a romantic suspense novel while bringing attention to the very real topic of the slaughter of horses.
P.J. O’Dwyer is working on the second novel in her Fallon Sisters trilogy of books. Want to keep up with what P.J. O’Dwyer is up to? Like her on Facebook. Visit her website. Or follow @PJ_ODwyer on Twitter.
Want a copy of Relentless?
- Go to amazon.com for the hardcover.
- On-the-go? Looking for a good beach read? Relentless is available on Kindle.
- You can win one on this blog, too. That’s right! I am giving away a copy of Relentless to one lucky reader. Here’s how to win!
Winning is easy. First, leave a mandatory comment. Second, leave one or more of the optional comments. Remember, you must leave the mandatory comment for the other comments to count. Oh and don’t forget to leave your email address in the comment, so I can contact you if you win!
Mandatory Comment — Leave a comment.
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I was given Relentless by my friend, P.J. O’Dwyer. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. The giveaway ends July 16, 2012, at 11:59 p.m. EST. The views expressed in this post are my own. I follow the tenets of Blog With Integrity.
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