Review: Showdown

June 12, 2007

Showdown
by Tilly Bagshawe

Grade: D

Synopsis: Milly Lockwood Groves grew up deep in the racing world of England. Her dad owns a stud farm, and her brother is a jockey, but she is forbidden to ride. Then Bobby Cameron, trainer, stays at their house, and gives her secret lessons. Seeing her talent, he takes her back to California with him to live on his ranch and learn to race quarter horses.

Review: This book was one of the worst I have read in awhile. I nearly didn’t finish it, but I was imagining the review I’d write for it, and I felt obligated to at least finish the book before warning others away.
Personally, I like to read as an amusement or distraction, sometimes it can be an escape after a hard day. You get to know the characters, root for them, and it all works out. Author of this book, Tilly Bagshawe, forgot that her readers have to actually like the characters to care what happens to them. Instead, almost every character in the book is detestable. There are two minor characters that I could fall in love with, but they don’t get much time until the end. Additionally, one of them is supposed to be the supportive friend, but Milly treats her like dirt. Trampling on the feelings of one of the few loveable characters just makes me like Milly less.
Milly is pathetic. She has no backbone, never stands up for herself, doesn’t even manage to be nice most of the time.
Her love interest, Bobby, is rude to almost everyone he meets, so it’s no wonder he ends up with problems. However, he does not learn to be more polite, and instead Bobby’s problems are solved because someone else manages to be even more aggravating than he is. His and Milly’s relationship is based on sheer attraction, and most of the time they know each other they behave in completely unattractive ways.
The writing itself violates the “show, don’t tell” rule, that even small children are taught when beginning write. Milly acts like a brat, has extreme jealousy, and yet Bagshawe writes reactions in of people finding her nice and polite. She wanted her character to be sweet, so she told us she was, while actually writing actions of a self-obsessed spoiled brat.
The plot holes are ridiculous. Her father, a horse lover, forbids her to ride because she hurt herself on a horse once. However, he allows her brother to ride, and allows Milly to spend time around dangerous stallions. Horses are just as dangerous on the ground as they are while being ridden, and a truly horsey person would know that.
Also, one character is described as being 18 years old, but decided she’d get heself some education and so is studying law at Berkley. I don’t know where Bagshawe’s from, but generally you need a bachelors before you get a law degree. Additionally, all through the summer this girl is described as “studying” when it’s kind of difficult to study when you’re not currently taking classes! It’s a vague way to occupy the character, but shows thoughtlessness on the author’s part.

This book just made me depressed–I had no desire for the main character to “win” in the end. I did not find myself sighing at the end of the book about how cute and romantic it was. Note to self: Avoid Bagshawe’s books at all costs!