Stable Mates by Zara Stoneley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Summary: Welcome to tranquil Tippermere, an idyllic village nestled deep in the Cheshire countryside. Home to lords and ladies, horsemen and farmers, and plenty of secrets and scandals…
Leaving a scumbag ex behind her, Lottie Brinkley has hotfooted it out of Spain and back home to the country in serious need of some flirtatious fun to soothe her aching heart.
Luckily for her she’s spoilt for choice with not one but three eligible bachelors offering a steamy romp in the hay! But faced with the attentions of roguish eventer Rory Steel, the smiling Irish eyes of hunky farrier Mick O’Neal, and mysterious newcomer Tom Strachan, how can she possibly choose?
When billionaire landowner Marcus James drops dead unexpectedly, his WAGish wife Amanda threatens to sell the heart of the village and sets her sights on Tom! It seems things are heating up for little Tippermere… both in and out of the saddle.
3.5 stars. I was in love with the cover and summary when I originally saw this on Netgalley. So what's a girl to do when she's turned down to read and review on Netgalley? She bloody damn pre-orders it and squees with glee when it downloads on debut day and gets to reading. Let me just say that this one had me at "Footballer's Wives". I loved that show and I still miss it so I was thrilled to get to take this trip to Cheshire with the tony horsey set and the over the top celebrities and wannabe strivers.
I did think the death of Marcus and how this put into motion all the chaos and angst of the Tippermereians over Folly Lake Manor and the wider equestrian centre took a little long to get going especially after the opening. I do get that there was quite a cast to introduce however so possibly that couldn't be helped. I liked Lottie but I honestly never bought Rory's love for her. There's charmingly aloof and then there's Rory. I didn't really root for Lottie to get her man so much as get over his wishy-washy nature. Still, I loved her interactions with her grandmother, Elizabeth and her fraught relationship with her father, Billy & uncle, Dom. Amanda was well done and I enjoyed Pip as well. I truly felt Stoneley was fabulous at describing the comedic chain reactions set off by people, dogs or horses, alike. It was very vivid in the telling and made me laugh throughout. I give nothing but kudos to all things related to "the wedding". It was perfect and everything you wonder about as you flip through Tatler. I was having Kyle/Chardonnay wedding flashbacks. There were plenty of sexy times throughout but I didn't think it was over done nor exceedingly spicy but it was fun. I do admit that I wasn't adoring any of the men as romantic options but they did serve their purposes well.
All in all, I'm very glad that I read this and I would read another by the author any time. Definitely recommended if you need something to read while travelling or on a weekend. It won't change your life but you'll have some fun.
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