Book Review: Learning to Fall

A Novel by Anne Clermont

Published by Sparkpress

*This post contains affiliate links. The book was purchased by me for entertainment purposes and the review was not solicited by the author or publisher. All opinions are my own. 

 

The debut novel by Anne Clermont tells the story of Brynn Seymour, daughter of show jumper Luke Seymour and heir to the Redwood Grove Stables in northern California. A horrific accident derails her plans for the future, setting her on a path that she never thought she wanted. Set to the back drop of show jumping, Learning to Fall shows an insight into the equestrian world through the eyes of a young woman balancing both grief and passion.

Summary

Brynn has spent the first 23 years of her life following in her father’s show jumping footsteps despite her mother’s fears.  A tragic accident causes Brynn to step away from her last year of veterinary school to keep her family’s business running. Her strength and passion are tested many times. More than that she takes the opportunity to do what her father had only dreamed of but never accomplished. In doing so, Brynn finds what is important in her life and realizes her dream. Not for her parents or what others wish for her, but for herself.

Critique

Anne Clermont’s writing immediately pulls you in. Throughout her first person account, I found myself wanting to warn her away from danger, bask in her relationship with Jett, and cheer her on her painful journey into adulthood. I found myself disappointed by Corinne and Helena, unsurprised by Vivian, and empathetic with her mother.  The World of Show Jumping becomes a character of its own, a demanding and persistent presence. Each character is vibrant and rich so that I felt that I was a part of their lives.

I found the author’s writing very approachable yet provocative, and became quite emotional throughout he book. I found myself during the description of Brynn’s first horse show as a trainer, laughing at how familiar it all sounded. Anne Clermont captures the array of personalities and manages to do so in a way that is honest without being mean. No small feat.

The equestrian world can be resistant to new ideas. Jason is thought odd for incorporating yoga into training, causing him to lose respect from equestrians despite winning multiple Gold Cups. He follows his own path and together he and Brynn show the world that different can work and win.

While Brynn’s motives may be misconstrued as monetary it is instead the desire to solidify her family’s business and keep her father’s legacy intact. It is only when stepping out of her own problems and empathizing with others does she gain clarity and much-needed perspective. She begins to truly believe in what she is doing for herself and her horse. Even before the final competition, her mind is clear and she has become a better horsewoman and a better person. Brynn’s journey may have begun due to tragedy, but it becomes the impetus Brynn needs to remove any limitations and take the risk that she always wanted.

Jett is one of the most important characters in my opinion. Throughout the entire book, her relationship with the warmblood is a steadfast and loving partnership. Unlike her own family, Jett never expects more from Brynn than what she is willing to give. Brynn know his heart and his potential when no one, not even her experienced father can say the same. At no time does Brynn take her horse for granted- in fact, they seem to have a bond that is present in the very best partnerships, human or otherwise, and it only gets stronger during their journey.

In conclusion

Learning to Fall is a poignant coming of age tale set in the equestrian world of show jumping. Brynn Seymour is torn by the opposing desires of her parents for her future. After a tragic accident, Brynn is forced to choose a path she didn’t want and in that turmoil realizes what is really important to her. It’s not an easy road, but she realizes that the very thing she was fighting against is the very thing she will fight most to achieve. Not for anyone else, but for herself. And that is where her success truly lies. This is something that I can relate to, having been afraid of realizing my dreams for so long. Luckily, in facing those fears I have found happiness and purpose.

 

This book pulled me in and didn’t want to let me go. It’s hard to fathom that this is Anne Clermont’s debut novel. Whether you are an equestrian or not, this is a compelling tale of love, strength, and determination against the odds set against the vibrant backdrop of equestrian show jumping.  I am very excited to see what else this author has in store.


Do you have an equestrian book you would like to recommend? Comment below with the title, author, and reason why you liked the book.

 

 

 

 


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