Book Review: "Breaking Free" by Lauraine Snelling
Maggie is serving ten years in prison for an accident that killed her son. She soon finds solace in the horse program that allows the inmates to take care of horses that can no longer race. She finds a special kinship to Breaking Free, a spirited horse that is full of anger. Maggie soon learns to tame the horse, to the point where she can ride him. Meanwhile Gil is a single father, whose son Eddie has spina bifida and whose mother abandoned him in favor of drugs. Eddie is confined to his wheelchair and Gil wants to do whatever he can for him. They go see the horses from the prison and ends up buying Breaking Free. Maggie goes along with them to help continue the training. The two are thrown together and must learn to trust again in this new relationship.
I'm not really a horse person, but I did enjoy reading this story. I like stories when a troubled person and an equally troubled animal find each other and connect. Maggie and Breaking Free's relationship reminded me of the story of Seabiscuit. Reading about Maggie's life in prison was harsh, but I know that in real life it is even worse. I would have liked, however, if we could have found out what happened to the other inmates that she befriended. I did like how the women were allowed to take care of the horses and learn about them. It was touching to read about how they finally had something to be proud of, to know that they are performing good and to have someone look up to them. At first Grant seemed to be the overprotective father, but after learning about his ex-wife, you realize why he acts that way.
I liked Eddie very much, although I felt Grant treated him too much like a young kid. His relationship with Maggie is very moving. The only thing I didn't really like was that Maggie was served such a harsh sentence for her "crime." I mean most people do not get drunk after drinking 2 glasses of wine, and the accident didn't really sound like it was her fault, yet she gets so many years in prison for it. Yet celebrities will do worse crimes and stay in jail for less than 2 hours! It just didn't seem too believable, or else Maggie has a really bad lawyer that didn't defend her very well. I feel though that this book is well written. If you are a horse fan you will definitely want to pick it up.
Breaking Free by Lauraine Snelling is published by Faithwords (2007)