ARC Review: Racing Savannah (Hundred Oaks #4) by Miranda Kenneally


Pub. Date: December 3rd, 2013
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Paperback
304 pages

Synopsis from Goodreads:

They’re from two different worlds.

He lives in the estate house, and she spends most of her time in the stables helping her father train horses. In fact, Savannah has always been much more comfortable around horses than boys. Especially boys like Jack Goodwin—cocky, popular and completely out of her league. She knows the rules: no mixing between the staff and the Goodwin family. But Jack has no such boundaries.

With her dream of becoming a horse jockey, Savannah isn’t exactly one to follow the rules either. She’s not going to let someone tell her a girl isn’t tough enough to race. Sure, it’s dangerous. Then again, so is dating Jack…

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There are so many great parts to Racing Savannah. From the humor (especially the character of Rory, whose script ideas ranged from groan inducing to eyebrow raising), to the different family dynamics, the ridiculously amazing setting, and the personified animals, the novel is so full and so fulfilling for readers. All of those aspects may be great, but seeing a character grow to accept who she is the way Savannah does, is incomparable in its greatness. Jumping out of her comfort zone and taking chances turns out to be the best possible thing Savannah could do. Savannah goes from having insecurities about where she comes from and who she is, to realizing that she is the one who has set her own bar of expectations too low. She moves from insecurity to empowerment, and that journey is invigorating and powerful for the reader.

The one element of Racing Savannah that I could have done without was, second half of the novel’s Jack. I know I’m probably alone in this, and that Jack and Savannah’s relationship will probably have a
large number of fans, but I couldn’t get past the way he made Savannah feel in the beginning – as though she was lesser than him because his family has money.  Jack grows and changes positively throughout the novel, almost as much as Savannah, but I don’t feel that I could have gotten past the initial hurt he caused in the same way Savannah does. I really liked that Savannah empowers herself by being true to who she is without apology, especially when she stands up for herself against Jack. I felt in forgiving him as completely as she does, a small part of that empowerment was taken away.

Reading Racing Savannah leaves you with an ooey gooey warm love feeling - an exceptional feat given that Savannah’s life is far from being all sugar and lollipops (you’ll get the reference when you read it!). Savannah is one of those characters that you can literally see grow before your eyes, and you love her so much for it. For every bit of humour, and every supportive relationship Savannah builds, there’s an equal amount of disappointment and hurt just waiting to work its way into her life. The balance of happy and hardship is so perfect and realistic, you’ll have a really hard time not falling completely head over heal in love with the characters and the novel. 

Sidenote – I thought this novel was a standalone. I had no idea it is book four in a series. You may get some additional benefit reading the other novels beforehand, but I thought it worked really well on its own.  

Rating 4.5/5

*** I received a copy of the novel from the publisher to read and honestly review. I was in no way compensated.