Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, June 12, 2006

Showdown:A sure fire bet for summer fun

Tilly Bagshawe's new novel,Showdown,introduces us to Bobby Cameron,a young horse trainer who has just inherited his father's old school cowboy ranch,Highwood. The land is rich with oil but by refusing to sell out to mining companies has left the ranch high with debt. Bobby's Thoughbred horse coaching is all that's kept Highwood from going under which leads him to take a job in England where he meets up our heroine,Milly Lockwood Groves.

Milly is a totally devoted horsewoman at age 17, who only wants to become a professional jockey but is banned from even riding after a bad accident which spooked her usually supportive father. This please Milly's mother,who traps her in debutante hell,as well as her jealous and lazy brother Jasper who has just hooked up with Rachel Delaney,a lifelong riding rival of Milly's.

Milly instantly falls in love with Bobby who gradually comes to feel the same but refuses to take advantage of such a young girl. He does however start secretly training Milly to ride again and believes she would make a great quarter horse racer. Eventually,the two of them convince Milly's father to let her go back to Highwood with him to get some real training in exchange for Milly's helping out at the ranch. Bobby winds taking on an unscrupulous partner,Todd Cranborn,to not only keep Highwood going but to start up a quarter horse training farm. Todd's true interest is in the oil beneath Highwood's hills and is not above seducing Milly in more ways than one.

Showdown is a much sleeker story than Adored,which displays Bagshawe's steady hold on the reins of the plot. The modern world of horse racing presented here is quite intriguing,with some interesting tie-ins to the recent Barbaro incident at this year's Kentucky Derby. The real hook here is the characters-Bagshawe whips up a compelling supporting cast whose interests give you plenty to root for. One of my favorite people in Showdown is Amy Price,the beleaguered daughter of Milly's racing sponsor who not only becomes Milly's friend but wants to become a published poet.

Showdown is a true horse opera,in the best sense of the word. Full of scheming lovers,juicy insider tidbits and up to the minute pop culture references,this story is a perfect pick for anyone looking for a good glam read this summer. You'll have fun,fun,fun even if your daddy takes your T-bird away! Also,don't forget to grab a copy of Adored if you haven't read it yet-a double dose of Tilly Bagshawe is a great cure for the summertime blues.

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