Got Completely Sucked In
By Heidi Furseth
Dog Ear Publishing, $14.95, 220 pages
Heidi Furseth is an amazing storyteller in her book, Easy Love. From the first line, she has the reader standing right there beside her heroine in the rain, stringing wire and sinking fence posts with a taciturn father, the horse-crazy love of an eleven-year-old girl welling up inside her heart. The fantastic narrative kept me rapt through the ups and downs of girlhood, loving that horse right along with the heroine.
“I cried, feeling tragically grown up.”
We meet Ann Dougherty as a horse-crazy eleven-year-old girl, who has just received a horse, called Forever Amber, as a gift from her parents for her birthday. As the next ten years elapse, we see a girl grow into a woman, and her struggles along the way, most especially the incredible relationship Ann builds with Amber, and the challenges she faces with as she attempts to grow away from her controlling father.
Furseth hits the perfect balance between sentimentality and storytelling in Easy Love. It would be easy in a novel like this, about a girl and her horse, to become overly sentimental, but Furseth resists the impulse, to spectacular effect. Her novel is honest, beautifully written, thoroughly engaging, funny and tragic all at once. It’s so easy to get completely sucked in by the narrative, becoming completely involved in the story so that it feels like Ann’s story happened to you. I get angry with Ann’s father alongside her, worry for her mother, irritated by callous boys, and just want to go riding. It’s a rare book that can transport a reader so thoroughly and this one nails it.
Easy Love is an excellent book that I can’t recommend highly enough, especially to horse and animal lovers. It’s an engrossing tale with a powerful narrative voice, engaging characters, and hits just the right emotional cord without going overboard. It’s a must-read for this year.
Reviewed by Axie Barclay