By: Karen S. Bennett
Publisher: Loyola College/Apprentice House
Publication Date: June 2021
Reviewed By: Amy Lignor
Review Date: February 6, 2022
Beautiful Horseflesh is not only a tale about a seriously stunning filly named Bumble B, the author also added a plot of romance, mystery, and vibrant characters that anger the reader at times and cause them heartbreak at others.
We are introduced to the Smitt family and their financial struggles. Not only is the family saddened and depressed over the recent death of the husband and father they’ve loved for so long, but with the medical bills piling up, the debt they have to deal with seems astronomical. Therefore, when Bumble B comes to their farm, this promising young horse instills hope that, with a win in the forthcoming prestigious stakes race held in Tampa, the family could get out of debt and move forward in life.
Another problem comes to pass, however, when the trainer of Bumble B, Bud Coleman, ends up to be a man with a great deal of emotional baggage and alcohol problems wrapped up in a handsome package. This troubled man also likes to “view” teenage girls (which is where the anger part comes in for the reader because you want to crawl into the book and deck the guy).
Luis Smitt is eighteen years old; his sister, Miranda, is sixteen, and with their mother, Patrizia, the trio make up the family. Luis is especially excited about the fact that this thoroughbred is coming to them because they are a boarding farm and offer a water walking facility. Although Bud is not exactly a man Luis wants around, Bumble B is the prize the family simply can’t ignore; therefore, Bud has to be put up with. Soon, Luis also wishes Bud didn’t have to be part of the package because the man’s “matinee idol” face and body attract the attention of his mother and sister, until Bud’s eye focuses on Miranda’s much younger good looks transforming Mom from a “fan” into a strict parent. She begins lecturing her daughter and warning her to stay as far away from the alcoholic trainer as humanly possible. Of course, like any teenager, Miranda is not remotely interested in listening to her mother, which makes matters even worse.
Add in two deaths, and a secret that will be unveiled regarding why Bud is so protective and caring when it comes to the jet-black filly he watches over like a hawk, and this book goes from zero to sixty in seconds.
On a personal note, I must say that this author put together a plot that definitely focuses upon a majestic horse that all readers will want to build a stable for in their backyards. The story is also filled with surprises and human vices that kept my eyes locked on the pages. Watching Luis uncover the horse’s mysteries, the deception and pain that impacts his own family’s life, and getting into the thrills and chills that can only come from watching these sleek creatures take over the track, made my heart beat faster and kept my mind engaged until the clever ending.
Author Karen Bennett took me on an adventure with scenes of drama as well as light-heartedness, and introduced me to a cast of characters I will not soon forget. She most definitely took her tale to a whole new level by making sure to use skill and talent to dot every ‘i’ and cross every ‘t.’ I can’t wait to do my research and head straight to her next title, because if it’s anything like this one, I will be thoroughly impressed yet again.
Quill says: Whether speaking about horse or human, every scene and character is beautifully crafted and completely unforgettable.