Monday, July 8, 2013

Teenage Romance, Horses and Murder: Silent Harmony by Michele Scott

Vivienne Taylor is the new scholarship student at Fairmont Riding Academy, a top-level school that prepares equestriennes for the Olympics. Vivienne is a very talented rider, but she's the scholarship student and the in-crowd isn't about to give her an easy time. The boys have a wager about who will have sex with with her first and the girls exhibit typical teenage bitchiness.

Vivienne has a special talent. She communicates with horses. All horses that is, but the horse she's been assigned. Harmony is beautiful, but completely silent. She belonged to the school veterinarian who died just before Vivienne arrived. Could the death have something to do with Harmony's silence?

This book is aimed at young adult readers. I didn't find the sexual element out of place considering today's teens, but some people may be offended by it. The mystery is fair, but the author spends so much time on the romantic problems of the teenagers that the solution to the mystery seems rushed at the end.

The story is told from three points of view: Vivienne and two of the boys, one of whom is very interested in her. I found following three points of view took away from the intensity of Vivienne's story and solving the mystery.

Although it's a horse book, I found the emphasis more on teen romance than horse activities, although we do get more at the end. I also found some of the horse related scenes misleading. In the first scene, Vivienne's mother, a veterinarian, treats a horse that has apparently eaten or drunk something poisonous in the pasture. She decides the horse and two other horses on the property are being abused and decides to rescue them. Generally, horse rescue is not as easy as making off with the horses in the middle of the night. Legal actions are usually required. Simply taking the horses can be construed as stealing. I don't want to ride this too much, but I think it gives the wrong idea about the complexity of horse ownership and horse rescue.

If you love horses and read everything about them, you may enjoy this book, but it has a number of drawbacks that keep it from being one of my favorites.

I reviewed this book for the Amazon Vine Program.