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REVIEW: “Fire Horse” by Mickie B. Ashling



Preston Fawkes is ten the first time he meets fifteen-year-old Konrad Schnell at the San Antonio Polo Club. Captivated by the mystique surrounding the sport of kings, Pres vows to learn the game at the hands of his newly acquired friend and mentor. The hero worship soon grows into something deeper, but the friends are separated when Preston goes off to boarding school in England.

The relationship that follows is riddled with challenges―their age gap, physical distance, and parental pressure taking precedence over feelings yet to be explored. Although their bond goes deep, they deal with the reality of their situation differently: Preston is open and fearless while Konrad is reticent and all too aware of the social implications of making a public stand.

Their paths intersect and twine, binding them as tightly as a cowboy’s lasso, but fate may alter their plans. How will love overcome the divots in the turf as they gallop toward the future—one where obstacles no longer stand in their way?


I kept wavering back and forth over whether I liked, loved, or…disliked this book.

I think the writing was great. The story was interesting. The characters drew me in. The dialogue felt genuine. The polo background is a new one for me. And all in all, I’d be perfectly satisfied with this story of young love, lost love, and reunited love.

Preston is a precocious and determined 10-yr old who wants to get on a horse and play polo. He meets 15-yr old Konrad and hero-worships him pretty much for the rest of his life. The friendship is sweet…Konrad becomes Preston’s mentor and their bond is one so special that it’s unbreakable. Feelings begin to grow and then all hell breaks loose…


***minor SPOILERS ahead***


And here’s where this story loses me:

Preston is 16 yrs old (Konrad, 21) when they first consummate their relationship. And I am just NOT ok with this. Call me a prude. Tell me I’m overreacting. But…um…it’s against the law and…it’s wrong. So, I struggled there on my high-horse, so to speak. And it niggled at me throughout the rest of the book. I couldn’t let it go.

When they’re eventually found out by Preston’s awful bigoted and abusive father, Konrad is forced to join the military and is shipped off to fight in the war. I won’t tell you the rest of the story to avoid spoilers. But…I my heartstrings were tugged at…and I was very very happy in the end (despite my earlier irritations – see? Confused how I feel about this book!).

If I could change 2 things about this story to make it PERFECT-FOR-ME (I know, I know…this story isn’t MINE to tell, it’s the author’s…but…if I could…), I’d have had the two of them wait until Preston was legally old enough to be in the relationship (it would make me respect Konrad more, to be honest) and also…well, I just wouldn’t have waiting SO MANY YEARS between the beginning and the end. Something about that didn’t jive for me…it felt almost too long to be…apart.

I LOVE a good long-lost-lovers story…the thought of soulmates and “meant to be” is just too attractive of a fairy tale for me not to be drawn in. And I think that alone is what bumped this story up from a ‘good’ to a ‘really good’ for me. I’m excited to read book 2…



17729396 (1)Title: Fire Horse (Polo #1)
Author: Mickie B. Ashling
Publisher: Dreamspinner
Pages: 256
Release Date:  April 12, 2013
Purchase Links: Dreamspinner, Amazon, ARe

3 comments on “REVIEW: “Fire Horse” by Mickie B. Ashling

  1. Carolyn
    August 4, 2014

    I just read Fire Horse and Ride-Off, the sequel, this week, Susan, so it’s all really fresh in my mind. I understand your thing with the age, which is always a thing for me, too, but I felt like the author tried to get us over that with how Konrad had always protected Preston (we know Kon’s not trying to hurt Pres because over and over he shows his care), how Preston is very headstrong in all his decisions (he goes after everything he wants and doesn’t back down consistently), and how the author had Pres actually messing around and on his own for two years before anything happened between the two, while also throwing in that age of consent in another country in. Obviously there’s still a power differential here, because of Kon’s age and experience, but let’s face it, the whole story hinges on Kon giving in to Pres, and he certainly suffered for his decision to give in to both their desires. If that doesn’t make it OK, it certainly allows for character & story development while still being true to life. I think Kon would agree with you that he should have waited longer.

    I’m with you on the SO MANY YEARS thing, but at least we didn’t have to suffer through that time along with Preston. I think my problem with that was how short the story is for after in comparison to the before. It felt unbalanced to me, so much that I’d say I got 80% goodness from reading it, which would match up with 4 stars. So, I agree with you there, too.

    I don’t want to say anything about Ride-Off, but I’d be really interested in reading your thoughts about it.


  2. SL
    August 4, 2014

    Carolyn! I love your comment SO MUCH! Because you’re absolutely RIGHT in everything you mentioned. And that’s why I was so conflicted. Because despite having a real issue with the underage thing, I actually really loved how the author dealt with it…both in decisions and in consequences. I think that was what made this a 4-star read for me and not, say a 3-star. Glad you enjoyed this too!

    I’m starting book 2 tonight! I’m really looking forward to it!


  3. Idamus
    August 5, 2014

    It was a DNF for me, I didn’t write down why, but if there was sex between a 16 yo and a 21 yo that was probably it, 16 is too young for an age gap like that in my book


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This entry was posted on August 4, 2014 by in Cops / Cowboys / Military, Reviewer: Susan and tagged , , .

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