Book reviews

Ride Free || Jessica Whitman


About the Book copy

9781760292348Ride Free (Polo Season #3)
by Jessica Whitman

Allen & Unwin

RRP: $29.99

In the irresistible tradition of Jilly Cooper, Nacho Figueras presents the final addictively readable novel in the glamorous, scandalous, romance-filled Polo Season series.

When legendary polo player Carlos Del Campo’s will is read to his grieving family they’re shocked to discover he has a daughter, Antonia, he never told them about. Not long after this revelation, Carlos’s eldest son, Alejandro, sets out to find his long-lost sister.

Having always dreamt of one day being reunited with her father, Antonia – aka Noni – is heartbroken when the half-brother she’s never met arrives on her doorstep with news of Carlos’s death. Despite her anguish she decides to accept Alejandro’s offer of a job in the family polo business, though she worries about her outsider status.

When Enzo Rivas, the Del Campos’ loyal stable master, sees what a brilliant rider Noni is he’s convinced she could transform the family polo team’s lagging fortunes. Complicating things is that he and Noni are rapidly falling in love with each other. Then a secret from Noni’s past threatens both her new life and her budding romance with Enzo …

Full of secrets, scandal and passion, Ride Free is about overcoming fear to find happiness in life – and love.

About the Book

Ride Free is an entertaining romance that goes around in circles. It was a little too sappy and insta-lovey for me and had a plot line that had too many dramatic complications. Despite that, the novel is enjoyable and engaging.
I found it really funny that both our protagonists come from scarring, dramatic backstories. Antonia and her complicated family situation and Enzo’s negative experience with love. Personally, I found the book just unrealistic and exaggerated. Plus, everyone in this book is ridiculously good-looking. Now, this book is not a fantasy one so I would’ve liked something that would’ve grounded book, something that could appeal to the ordinary person – ME. Like come one, a drop dead gorgeous woman (who doesn’t know she’s drop dead gorgeous) with a tragic history falls in love with another drop dead gorgeous guy (who also has a tragic history) and somehow, random drama gets in the way of their lusty relationship. Did I mention that the rest of the characters are also drop dead gorgeous?
This book is legitimately a soap opera and I’m not a big fan of soap operas. Antonia makes up like 101 reasons why she and Enzo can’t be together so the majority of the book is just both of them pining for each other. JUST BE TOGETHER DAMN IT YOU’RE CREATING YOUR OWN BARRIERS. OMG, it was so frustrating! At the same time, I felt like a book that was supposed to centralise around horses and polo did not have enough of the two. We got mentions of the two working around horses and a game at the end but I WANTED MORE. I like learning something new when I read a story but this book just left me with a lot of frustrated feelings.
 While this book lacked depth, I did like the emphasis on family. Antonia’s lost years with her father’s family meant that she tries to fully become one of them. As the novel progresses, we begin to see those cracks heal. Her brothers reassure her that they love her despite the fact that she didn’t grow up with her, they truly accept her as one of them. At the same time, her father’s wife begins to warm with her and it was really nice to have a break from all the pining and just read about her growing connection to her family.
In summary, ‘Ride Free’ was just too unrealistic and dramatic for my liking. While it was entertaining, too many frustrated feelings about their relationship just had me irritated. Thumbs up for family though!

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