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Horseplay    by Judy Reene Singer order for
by Judy Reene Singer
Order:  USA  Can
Broadway, 2005 (2004)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Shannon Bigham

Thirty-three year old Ruth is not a happy woman. She lives in New York, has two Master's degrees under her belt and is one year shy of her Ph.D.. She is an English teacher to a sulky classroom of children and is married to a man who cheats on her.

After she confirms the fact that her husband is on at least his third fling with a new woman-of-the moment, Ruth decides to pack herself up and move out. Being childless, she has the freedom to do this secretly while her husband is at the office (another late night at the office, Ruth presumes). She packs up her Mazda with her personal effects and hits the road. While Ruth's road trip sounds a bit spontaneous, she does have a plan. She drives to North Carolina, where she takes a position as a groom at an exclusive horse training and breeding farm, owned by a woman named Kat, a renowned German Olympic dressage rider. Kat is a demanding employer but she is an amazing dressage rider. Ruth is able to indulge her dream of learning dressage when she is not mucking out stables and hauling bales of hay.

Ruth finds caring for these majestic (though temperamental) creatures more satisfying than her loveless marriage, and believes that horses are more reliable and than men. But her plan for chastity and a life of 'just horses' changes when she meets a handsome, charming man named Speed. (His real name is Lawrence but he goes by his quirky middle name). Speed is a local attorney who owns his own farm and has family money. What puzzles Ruth is Speed's interest in a humble groom like herself, when this desirable, eligible bachelor can clearly pick and choose among women. That said, Ruth cannot deny her attraction to this incredible man, and ponders whether she is ready to commit herself to 'studs of the two-legged variety,' not just horses.

Horseplay is a quick entertaining read that has the humor of a chick lit book and the plotline of a woman finding herself after summoning the courage to leave an unhappy marriage. The farm where Ruth works and her equine experiences add interest, while even the reader cannot help but be charmed by Speed, as the book clips along at a nice pace and melds into a satisfactory contemporary romance with humor along the way.

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