Heels Down Book Club: Reviewing M. Garzon’s “Blaze of Glory”

There was a point in time when I would only read horse books discreetly, in the privacy of my own home. Now, 14-year-old me unabashedly devoured the “Thoroughbred series as well as a handful of “Saddle Club books. A giant purple trunk held all of my treasures: horse books in droves.

But then the younger version of me got embarrassed. I’d pack up the latest Malcolm Gladwell or, if I just wanted a beach read, a Lauren Weisberger chick book and use those as my public eye reads, saving any horse books for my home, away from prying eyes.

As I’ve gotten older though, I’ve started to let go of those preconceived notions that horses and loving them is somehow weird or nerdy. I started to embrace horse books, and in the process have discovered several authors whom I otherwise would have missed out on. One thing that really irritates me however, is when horse books are riddled with inaccurate or unrealistic ideas.

No, your “five-foot jumper” didn’t “sprain his ankle”. No, eventing is not the same as steeplechase. The list goes on and on. I often find myself frustrated at the lack of authenticity in some horse books. But that wasn’t what happened when I picked up the first book in M. Garzon’s series, “Blaze of Glory”.

“Blaze of Glory” follows a young protagonist, Tea, and her twin brother, Seth. After losing their mother, Tea and Seth are raised by their step-father, Declan. It’s a typical tumultuous teenage plot, woven with a heavy romance and a healthy dose of horses. Reading Tea’s story, you feel caught up in her life, rooting for her to maneuvering through life’s various curve balls still in tact. You want her to grow, to learn, and to receive the love that she doesn’t think she deserves.

Tea isn’t without her flaws. But then again, who is? It’s the flaws in each of us that create empathy. In Tea, I see a younger version of myself, constantly pulled between emotions, hormones, and a love of horses, often too confused to see the big picture. Tea is smart, quick-witted and not afraid to stand up for herself, as exemplified by a tense scene at Thanksgiving with a family member.

Tea is also an accomplished rider, dabbling in both show jumping (her primary passion) as well as some polo throughout the story. When a mysterious and dashing family member through marriage comes into the picture, the story gets thicker. It’s a mastery of writing by M. Garzon, who inserts her knowledge of the horse industry and mixed array of disciplines with a natural flair for painting human personalities into words.

“Blaze of Glory” is the first of a trilogy, and I’m looking forward to setting off on the next book. It is, after all, the perfect time of year to curl up with a good read. If you’re seeking horses, adventure, romance, and a good helping of drama, M. Garzon should be at the top of your to-read list.

Pick up your own copy here

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