I think this is my favorite Juliana Haygert book so far. :) The chemistry between the two main characters was sizzling, the abuse and trauma aspects well-done, and the journey of healing and strength will leave you with a warm feeling by the end of the novel.
Rating: 4.5 Healing Stars!
I was a little wary going into this novel, mostly because it had domestic violence in it. Now, I am not opposed to reading books about abuse; in fact, they are some of my favorites. But it's always a little nerve-wracking to try them, because sometimes authors just don't do them justice. Or they don't make you feel like it was anything different from what you've read before. But I thought the author told this story in such a way that I was cheering for Hannah and wanting her to fight for herself and for her future. It was wonderfully done, and I loved the ending. :)
The main character, Hannah, has been living on her late grandmother's ranch and trying to heal after losing her beloved family member and her horse. People keep telling her to sell the ranch, but she's not budging. She needs this place. It's her safety zone, but sometimes lines are crossed and people get hurt. I thought Hannah handled everything with such strength and heart, even though she made some choices that I don't think I'd necessarily agree with. Then again, I'm not Hannah. She's strong-willed, smart, and just trying to move on from her past. But life has a way of catching up to you, and events happen that send Hannah spiraling and feeling like there's no way out.
It all starts when she meets Leonardo. Leo was such an endearing character, and I absolutely loved him! He was gorgeous and kind, but beneath his confident facade is a man who's just trying to make a better life for himself. He loves polo, his family, and he grows to love Hannah just as fiercely. He's protective and sweet, and I was so glad he was there for her when no one else even knew.
Their romance was sizzling hot! Seriously, they had such great chemistry, and I melted when Leo called her morena. Their dialogue was witty and charming, and the forbidden aspect wonderfully done. I didn't think I would enjoy what happens between them, just for the sake of my morals. But then again, they both understood that to take it a step further would be wrong. Even though I didn't care once certain events happen in the book (if that was too cryptic, I'm sorry. I'm trying not to spoil anything).
There were quite a few secondary characters, and I enjoyed having them all in the story. Even though the relationship between Leo and Hannah takes center stage, the author does not forget about the rest of the people in their lives. I loved Jimmy, her grandma's right-hand man, and I loved Leo's crazy Brazilian family. I would so love to read more books featuring these characters again. :)
The plot was centered around Leo and Hannah's "romance, "as well as what's happening to this abused horse named Argus and the ever-growing violent relationship between her and her boyfriend, Eric. I was never really bored, but it took me a long time to finish this book. Well, long in my terms. Also, the mysteries behind certain events were kind of easy to guess, and I was not surprised by the revelations near the end. There was a bit of drama, but it wasn't overdone, which I liked. It all led up to the ending of the story, which I absolutely loved.
Breaking the Reins was a wonderful journey of a character who is only trying to find her footing in a life that's slowly unraveling around her. It was about healing and love, and I adored the chemistry between Hannah and Leo. I can't wait to read Breaking Fences, especially now that I know Bia is the main character of the story. Because once I finished this, I just wanted more with these characters and their stories. I feel like there's so much to tell, and I'm really hoping there will be more in this series.