By: Diane Maccani
Publisher: Tamarack Publishing
Publication Date: November 2000
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: February 2009
There are innumerable horse books dedicated to the pre-teen reader but the number written for older girls, 15 and up, drop off precipitously. Author Diane Maccani has addressed this often forgotten audience in her ‘What the Cowgirls Do!’ series.
The sixth book in Maccani’s series is Shattered Dreams. This story centers on Sara Murray, a 23 year old physical therapist with a passion for horses. One day, Sara’s boss Dan Meyer assigns a particularly difficult new patient to her. The patient, Wade Hollis, runs a cattle feedlot and Dan feels that with Sara’s horse background, she may be better suited to deal with the grumpy man than any of the other therapists.
Sara tackles Wade’s rehabilitation and along the way befriends his 15-year-old daughter Alison. The young girl has lost interest in almost everything since the death of her mother several years earlier. But with Sara’s help, Alison slowly comes back to life and shares with her new friend a dream she once shared with her mother; to one day participate in a barrel racing event and more importantly, enter a rodeo queen contest.
Along the way, Dan falls in love with Sara while at the same time, Wade’s tough, crusty, exterior starts to fall away to reveal a caring man. Both soon vie for Sara’s affection. But Sara is too busy working with Alison to notice their affections. Will Alison, with the help of Sara, be able to convince her dad that she be allowed to follow her dream?
Although Shattered Dreams is the sixth book in a series, it is not necessary to read the other books first. The character of Sara has appeared before, but this book is a separate, self-contained story.
Shattered Dreams is a well written, fast reading story sure to be enjoyed by horse loving older teens and young twenty somethings. It will also please readers who may not necessarily be interested in horses, but rather looking for a good love story. The characters are multi-dimensional and Maccani takes time to develop each into a believable person with problems and dreams that readers can easily relate to.
Quill says: Shattered Dreams is a heartwarming story about a young woman who brightens the lives of others with a little help from her horses.