This page turner, set primarily in the early 1970’s, centers on a young Kentucky woman, Autumn Leeves, born in 1946 to Abigail Leeves, an unwed mother who struggles to make ends meet. By 1970, Autumn graduates nursing school and is sent on assignment by the local hospital to care for the terminally-ill wife of middle-aged English equestrian master, Cyril Landon, owner of Landon Lawns Stables, a most successful thoroughbred racing stable located just outside Lexington, Kentucky in a posh community known as The Meadows.
Duff Taylor, world renown jockey who is tops in his field, lives full-time above the tack room at Landon Lawns and enjoys the many benefits it brings, but he also has a dark secret surrounding an unsolved racing incident from his past that he will go to any length to protect.
Autumn arrives at Landon Manor in time to be thrown into the fray, and finds herself caught in the ongoing disruption that ensues.
Targeted Age Group:: 30's to 60's
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I am a hopeless romantic and hold a deep love for horses. I also respect nurses and their often trying careers, and add to this, the plight of the unwed mother, all she endures, and the drive to obtain the best for her fatherless child in unfeeling, uncaring, arrogant situations.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Character creation is my favorite process of writing. I wanted to write a story that contained all the subjects from 'what inspired me to write this book', and I think I gave birth to the exact characters that were required to tell this story.
From Chapter 22: A Difficult Decision
The morning ride was almost at its end when Cyril made an interesting suggestion.
"My dear, you have come exceedingly far with your lessons. I am most proud of your accomplishments, and I know you are pleased with yourself as well. How would you like to begin the discipline of eventing — low to the ground of course?"
Confused, Autumn awkwardly inquired, "Eventing?"
Cyril somewhat chuckled, as he answered, "It is the discipline of learning to jump your horse over assorted obstacles laid out on a designated course."
This explanation took Autumn by surprise. She so admired watching Cyril and Dapper Dan bound around the hurdle course that Manfred, with William's help, had set up in one half of the enormous arena. They simply soared over the jumps, paying no mind to the fact each one was higher than the previous. It didn't matter; they cleared them efficiently and with skill. She had never once given thought to this part of English riding. It would be thrilling, to say the least, but it would also require extra time; time she may not have.
Taking a deep breath, she replied, "Well, it is something I would love to try, though I never gave it thought before. I mean, I just don't feel I'm that good of rider yet – who knows – maybe one day I'll feel confident enough to try, but not yet. I do hope you understand."
It was obvious the Englishman was disappointed, and it showed in his response.
"Oh, I am sorry to hear that, my dear, for you are more than ready, especially for small jumps – nothing elaborate – why Cinnamon could probably step over them and taking her advanced years into consideration they would have to be low. Once you became familiar with the feel, I would graduate you to a much younger horse, but if you don't feel comfortable then I won't press you."
"Thank you, Cyril," Autumn confessed, feeling rather sheepish, "I do appreciate your understanding, really I do. Maybe I'll try later, if the offer still remains."
"Of course, Miss Autumn, whenever you feel ready to take the plunge, or in this case, the leap," and with that he openly laughed.
She had hoped to not discourage him; more importantly hurt his feelings. He had been immensely patient throughout her entire training. His feelings were most important to her and she would do whatever it took to protect them.
The next morning found the young nurse in a cab on the way to Lexington. It wouldn't hurt to explore the offered position, discuss the requirements, and see if they would be to her liking.Before long she was seated in the administrator's office, waiting to discuss things with the doctor in charge of the unit. It felt as if a lifetime had passed when she finally received notification to come to his office. Walking down the corridors brought discarded memories to the forefront. St. Jo's was an old hospital but continued to serve Lexington well. She had enjoyed her brief time there and would be comfortable in returning. Arriving at the designated door, she opened it, and stepped inside. She had to look twice, for she could not believe who sat behind the desk, head held high, emitting the same arrogance as always.
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