- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: SparkPress (August 2, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1940716780
- ISBN-13: 978-1940716787
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 140 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #534,507 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Learning to Fall: A Novel Paperback – August 2, 2016
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"Authentic, captivating, and relatable."
―Plaid Horse Magazine
"Learning to Fall is a beautifully-written book, and so real you can almost feel the wind rushing by Brynn and Jett as they go flying over the jumps on the course. They both give their all in a breath-taking conclusion."
―Luxury Reading, FIVE STARS
“This stunning debut set in the rolling hills of Northern California promises endless feels, tears and plenty of horses . . . the best equine literary experience since Seabiscuit.”
―Redbook, "20 Books By Women You Must Read This Fall”
"A stunning literary cocktail of romance, devotion to family and passion for life, Learning to Fall is as heartwarming as it is addictive. You won’t be able to put this one down."
"If you're still crying in a corner because you miss Seabiscuit (raises hand), this book is for you."
―Popsugar, "21 Fiction Reads to Add to Your Fall Reading List"
"Clermont's passionate storytelling captures the essence of life as an equestrian. An excellent portrayal of dedication, hard work, and ups and downs that is relatable to all walks of life―be it equestrian or pedestrian.”
―John Pearce, Canadian Show Jumping Team Olympian
"Behind the beauty and elaborate pageantry of show jumping, there is a lot of grinding machinery. Anne Clermont's Learning to Fall offers an all-access pass to the hard work and financial realities that fuel it. I found myself nodding at the character types I recognized as I turned pages. I couldn’t put this one down.”
―Chris Pratt, Canadian Equestrian Team member, two-time Del Mar Grand Prix winner, and HITS Thermal Finale Grand Prix winner
“Whether or not you grew up reading Black Beauty or The Black Stallion, this insider’s view of the competitive world of show jumping captivates, wearing its tender heart on its sleeve. Brynn Seymour will have you cheering for her from the start, as she questions what many of us do: is the path we’re following the one we choose? Or the one someone else chooses for us?”
―Tracy Guzeman, author of The Gravity of Birds
“In her debut novel, Anne Clermont takes us behind the high-stakes world of Grand Prix show jumping―with spectacular results. Not just the horses, which she paints with a beauty and a tenderness all their own, but the riders and trainers and owners, the haves and the wannabes, all come to vivid life. This is a sport in which the jumps get higher and higher with every round, and Anne Clermont takes every one of them with flamboyant and heart-rending ease. A terrific showing.”
―Robert Goolrick, #1 New York Times best-selling author of A Reliable Wife, Heading out to Wonderful and The Fall of Princes
“In her debut novel Learning to Fall, Anne Clermont tells a compelling, page-turning story about one young woman’s search for success and love in the world of horse show jumping. Clermont writes with great compassion and insight. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel.”
―Ellen Sussman, New York Times best-selling author of French Lessons and A Wedding in Provence
"Full of heart, Learning to Fall tells the well-paced story of a tenacious young woman's quest to overcome tragedy and reawaken her dreams. Clermont shows us that mastering life's challenging courses requires a leap of faith--sometimes one taken on the back of a beloved horse."
―Sonja Yoerg, author of Middle of Somewhere and House Broken
"The spoiled princesses. The egotistical males. The backstabbing barn buddies and those that serve them. If you've been on the show-jumping circuit, you know these types well. Anne Clermont knows them better than most, and in Learning to Fall she pits them all against a young woman who may be short on privilege, but is long on luck and perseverance. As a rider, I wanted to cheer on Brynn Seymour through her struggle with the turn of each page in this emotional, high leap of a debut novel.”
―Hope Glynn, rider, trainer, and owner of Sonoma Valley Stables, Equus Hall of Fame inductee
About the Author
Anne Clermont is a Canadian living in the U.S., born in Kraków and raised outside of Toronto. She spent fifteen years in California before relocating to the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She holds a BS in animal biology, and an MBA. Her background ranges from studying animal behavior to carrying out pancreatic cancer research at one of the world’s largest and most innovative biotech companies. Inspired to write Learning to Fall in part by her own experience of running a show jumping business, she now devotes her time to writing and working as a developmental editor. She lives on an island in the middle of Puget Sound with her husband and two children.
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The protagonist Brynn, a competitive rider in equestrian jumping, is in veterinary school and destined to a successful future in the profession. The family business is of housing and caring for horses and training the young owner-riders. The strong-willed father runs the business, while the practical mother is the one most proud of her being in veterinary school. A sudden turn of events, and Brynn finds herself suddenly reprioritizing life goals, both immediate and for the near future. And that’s when her journey commences in search of closure and success with allies and enemies along the way.
The setting is northern California, a place I’ve lived most of my life in even if I no longer reside there. The familiarity added a little more delight in reading the novel. For those like me with no familiarity in show jumping technical jargon, no need to worry. The terms are explained when needed. After all, this is not a novel about show jumping. It’s about a journey that happens to have show jumping in the backdrop. For those with even a bit more familiarity than me in horses and equestrian events, the novel will be doubly pleasurable. After all, the author is an expert of sorts, having run a 75-horse equestrian center with her husband according to her website.
I recommend the book. Enjoy it.
First the good: The horse parts are very well done. The author is a horse professional so this is not a surprise. The description of the horse trailer accident was particularly horrific—bringing to mind the accident scene from The Horse Whisperer. As a horse owner, it was a very scary intense scene and I literally had to put the book down and read another book at that point before I continued, in order to relieve the anxiety. The horse show scenes are true to life—the barns, the grooms, the gossip and catfights, ponies bucking kids off, competitive moms, trainers wooing other trainers' clients, etc. The entire book was very readable and held my attention throughout and the story was entertaining.
Now the bad: The plot was very similar to Riding Lessons by Sara Gruen—daughter returns to parents' barn after loss of father, tries to take over training business to help because finances are shaky, has wealthy boarder/training client with multiple horses leave with no notice. The hints and foreshadowing in the book made upcoming events obvious to me, but apparently not to main character Brynne, who is shocked when her clients leave, shocked when the Enemy Trainer steals clients, shocked when her cheating lying boyfriend cheats and lies to her. Brynn, pay attention, sheesh! Most of the characters were rather one dimensional, and the ones who were more developed still seemed to act in ways that didn't always make sense (Corinne setting things up for Brynn to ride Seraphim comes to mind).
Overall though, I really enjoyed the book. I was able to get lost in the story, it was exciting and suspenseful, and the equine parts were exceptionally well done!