by Susan Juby
I'll state first that I liked this book. If ever there was a book deserving of a serious recommendation, this is that book. In fact, I'm not sure I can come up with a suitably snarky review for the blog, and I don't really even want to give up spoilers. What is wrong with me?
Well. Here's the summary:
For Alex Ford, dressage is an oasis. In the stable, he can slip into his riding pants, shed the macho cowboy image, and feel like himself for a change.
For Cleo O'Shea, dressage is a fresh start. She's got a new boarding school, absentee parents, and, best of all, no one to remember her past. . . .
They're an unlikely pair. Cleo's looking for love, but Alex has a secret he's not ready to give up, and a flirtation with Cleo is the last thing on his mind. But you can't find romance before you know real friendship, and sometimes the last person you'd ever think of as a friend ends up being the one you need the most.
If this was a Thoroughbred book, Christina would be having an aneurysm. The whole thing is about dressage, obviously. Alex has been obsessed with it since he was a kid, and Cleo spent her first jumping lesson sobbing. I appreciated that, actually.
Of course, they've got problems. Alex is struggling with his sexuality, which is to say he's a sixteen-year-old gay kid and horrified by the idea of having to tell anyone. Cleo is rich and selfish and lazy, but she's also dealing with the fact that her parents basically dumped her in Vancouver when her actions lead to their massive house in L.A. being stripped of all its expensive televisions, vases, and other possessions. She has no friends, and because she rides dressage and most of the girls at the school don't, that leaves her with one other girl who is a friend by proximity.
They both have horses. Cleo's parents bought her a ridiculously expensive and talented mare called Tandava. Alex has an elderly paint named Turnip that his dad won in a poker game. In a twist of fate, they both start training with Ivan and Fergus, dressage coaches recently retired to the area. Initially Cleo is interested in Alex, but when she tries to kiss him he just winds up screaming "gay!" at her.
And other things happen. I'm actually not inclined to spoil this book, because it's actually good. In the many books I've read for this blog (sure, many of them were Thoroughbred books, but they damn well count) I have learned that stumbling across a good horse-themed book is a miracle, so I'm treasuring this moment. Another Kind of Cowboy is a fun story. It's well-written and the characters are hilarious in a realistic way. It even makes dressage sound interesting. You'll probably like it. So run over to the library or the bookstore and grab a copy. Posthaste. As in now. Go.