Chances by Ruth Saberton
Publisher: Notting Hill Press
Publishing Date: 18th December 2016
Source: Received from the Author in return for an honest review, thank you!
Number of pages: 172
Genre: General Fiction, Teen & Young Adult
Buy the Book: Kindle
Sometimes in life you have to take chances…
City girl Amber Evans is determined to get herself thrown out of her latest foster home in the countryside. Growing up on a tough estate has taught her not to trust anyone or anything and horse mad Amber knows her passion for riding can never be more than a dream.
But rural life is far from quiet especially when you’re living next door to Britain’s hottest international three day event star, Drake Owen. When Amber finds herself catapulted into a world full of glamour and rivalry she’s determined to prove she belongs there too.
No matter how dangerous it may be or who is out to stop her…
Ruth Saberton has wanted to write a book about horses for a long time already, and boy, am I glad that she found time to do just this! “Chances” is the perfect novel for all the horse freaks, and not only, out there, and you can really see that Ruth knows what she writes about – she has brilliantly captured not only the human characters but also all the animal ones. It is a book a little different to what Ruth got me used to, it is more on the serious side and yes, I love her sense of humour and I like the lighter novels that I’ve read before but I also appreciate the fact that she wanted to try her hand in something more serious.
I caught myself thinking that I am a little like Amber – no, not as rebel as she was, but as sensitive as her, and I could totally relate to her imagining what the animals could feel, to having a big heart and understanding them – I’m exactly the same. She was so conflicted inside, our Amber, and Ruth Saberton has wonderfully put all those feelings into words, and I think being able to do just this deserves a standing ovation! I fell for Amber, immediately. Sure, there were moments that I also wanted to slap her or bang her head on the wall but oh well, she’s a teenager, so it was understandable she was behaving this way. But mostly I just kept my fingers crossed for her and I so wanted that she finds her happiness. The relationship between her and Chances was absolutely, heart – breakingly beautiful, and as I had a pleasure to see such friendships personally, it was even more palpable and understandable to me.
All the other characters in the book were incredibly well written and Ruth Saberton gave them this depth that made them so close to life and realistic. They were full of warmth or anger and they were so easy to like or dislike. I adored Amber’s foster family in Cornwall, the way they were there for each other, how they loved and supported each other, and I loved how Harry, after initial problems, was there for Amber and what he did for her. I admired how grown up he felt, how clever he was and the way he negotiated with Amber, or just spoke with her, was just the right to get to her. It couldn’t be easy to be Amber and mostly people just gave up on her and it was lovely and touching to see how Kate and her children fought for her.
Ruth Saberton’s writing is getting stronger and stronger. It felt mature but it also didn’t lose the lightness. In the previous books the author concentrated very much on descriptions and as much as I loved them they often kept me away from the main plot. However this time, even though there ARE descriptions, they don’t obscure this what really is important in this story, and for me personally it’s the next brownie point!
Even though the book is aimed at younger readers, I totally enjoyed it. It was mature and there was a lesson or two in it, but you as a reader didn’t feel patronized, not at all. Yes, there were moments that everything went so smoothly and you knew it would be impossible in real life, but there were also moments full of tension and sadness and you didn’t know in which direction the story is going to go. There is so much more to it than it only being your another horse/pony book and I liked how very well balanced it was, there was just enough about the horses and eventing themselves and yes, I am also a horse-y person, so the professional talk was just as normal for me, but I think that it’s not too much or too overwhelming for those who don’t talk like this on everyday basis :), and then there was the other side of the book, about bullying, social services, mental health and trying to help. A lovely, touching story about finding new beginnings, about loyalty, friendship and families, and before I could say Jack Robinson I was on the last page. I would love to see more from all the characters and Chances, this beautiful chestnut Arab from the cover, that was so full of spirit and fire – a horse that you can’t break, only work with. Beautiful story tugging at all the right heart – strings, I highly recommend it!