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Review: Flying Changes

May 10, 2011

Now that her father’s passed away and her divorce is final, Annemarie Zimmer is trying to adjust to life back at home on Maple Brook horse farm with her mother and her daughter.  Annemarie and her old boyfriend Dan seem to have fallen into a comfortable relationship, but Annemaire wants more out of it and she’s not sure where things are heading.  Her daughter, Eva,  seemed to settle down for a little while, but now she’s back to testing the limits.

Annemarie makes some decisions about Eva and Dan and since she always seems to expect the worst, she jumps to some conclusions she shouldn’t.  When a shocking tragedy strikes, everyone pulls together because they realize just how much they need each other.

Flying Changes, by Sara Gruen, starts where Riding Lessons (my review) ends, and I loved it just as much.   Annemarie is a character most people can relate to – she’s talented and smart, yet somewhat insecure.  She second guesses herself all the time.  She wants the best for her daughter but doesn’t always know how to get it.

I loved the transformations that both Annemarie and Eva underwent in this book.  They’ve always loved each other but haven’t always known how to show it.  A tragedy forces them to take a hard look at themselves and figure out what they want in the future.

I listened to the audio version of Flying Changes and it’s narrated by Catherine Gaffney.  At first, I was disappointed that it wasn’t read by Maggi-Meg Reed, since she narrated Riding Lessons and I was used to her voice for Annemarie’s, but as the story progressed, I grew to enjoy Gaffney’s narration.  I don’t think she’s quite as good as Reed with voices and accents, but she’s definitely a reader to watch for.  The audio version is approximately eleven and a half hours long and it was never slow.

Even though Flying Changes did make me teary eyed several times, I loved it.  I think it could stand alone, but readers will enjoy it so much more if they read Riding Lessons first.  Fans of women’s fiction are sure to love these books.

Review copy provided by Harper Collins.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
42 Comments leave one →
  1. May 10, 2011 6:34 am

    I did read Riding Lessons and enjoyed it; this sounds good as well.

  2. May 10, 2011 7:10 am

    I had no idea about Sara Gruen’s other books, apart from Water for Elephants. It sounds so different! I love books that make you teary-eyed – it’s proof that you managed to connect with the characters.

  3. May 10, 2011 7:24 am

    I thought that Ape House was just horrible, so I really had to wonder if Water For Elephants was her one hit wonder. Maybe not! I can sympathize with you on the narrator. There should be consistency…we begin to identify characters with certain voices.

  4. May 10, 2011 7:41 am

    I read Water For Elephants several years ago and after finishing it went in search of more books by Gruen. I found her “horse novels” and really enjoyed them. I gave them to my daughter-in-law (she rides) and she loved them. I’m glad the audiobooks have been good as well!

  5. May 10, 2011 7:59 am

    I didn’t know about these books. These two book sound interesting.

  6. May 10, 2011 8:19 am

    I would love to read Gruen again. I have only read Water For Elephants by her and was so impressed with that book.

  7. May 10, 2011 8:26 am

    The only Gruen I’ve read is Water for Elephants. I wasn’t aware that she had two previous novels! It’s clear that she is quite the animal lover, so I can see why her novels bring tears to the eyes. Great review!

  8. May 10, 2011 9:17 am

    This book looks fine ! Thank you for your review !

  9. May 10, 2011 9:47 am

    Occasionally, I like a tearjerker. Thanks for the review, Kathy.

  10. May 10, 2011 10:19 am

    I’m one of the eight people who haven’t read Water for Elephants but I know Sara Gruen has some writing chops. I think I’m going to have to read her books soon. I’ve heard great things about Riding Lessons too. I don’t know where to start.

  11. May 10, 2011 10:48 am

    I had been wondering about this book, and am glad to see that you liked it. I can sometimes take or leave horse books, but it sounds like this one was really great and had a really absorbing emotional component. Great review, Kathy!

  12. May 10, 2011 11:00 am

    Thanks! for your review, it sounds good.

  13. May 10, 2011 11:09 am

    oh i’m glad you made a mention of riding lessons! i almost thought this book was a stand alone. i enjoy reading water for elephants, so i’m going to give these books a try too!

  14. May 10, 2011 11:31 am

    Sounds great 🙂 I haven’t read a horse book in ages, cos I read like one a day in elementary school, lol

  15. Beth Hoffman permalink
    May 10, 2011 11:36 am

    Though I knew of this book, for some reason I just never added it my list. But now I will. Thanks, Kathy!

  16. May 10, 2011 12:05 pm

    This sounds like a touching and sensitive book. Great review, Kathy!

  17. May 10, 2011 12:24 pm

    Glad to see you enjoyed this one as much as the first one.

  18. May 10, 2011 1:05 pm

    I have been meaning to get to RIDING LESSONS and now I can add another one to my must-read list! 😉

  19. May 10, 2011 1:14 pm

    Both these books sound fab and very emotional. I think I would like them!

  20. May 10, 2011 2:31 pm

    Water for Elephants had me boohooing the entire time I read it, I must admit. She had a great way of pulling on my heartstrings in that book and I had no idea she wrote more (well, other than the one with the monkey on the cover). Will have to pick these up now, too!

  21. May 10, 2011 3:12 pm

    This is an author I’ve been really wanting to read, but I’d heard Water for Elephants was pretty sad so hadn’t jumped in. Maybe I should try one of these.

  22. May 10, 2011 3:15 pm

    I am about to start Water For Elephants — then it sounds like there’s plenty of great Sara Gruen titles! Thanks for the review, Kathy!

  23. May 10, 2011 4:52 pm

    It sounds lovely…unfortunately I can’t read any book with animals on the cover or inside or mentioned if they are hurt. So I will appreciate the fact that you enjoyed this book.

  24. May 10, 2011 5:38 pm

    How great to find that you loved this one just as much as Riding Lessons!

  25. May 10, 2011 5:59 pm

    Somehow I didn’t make the connection with Sara Gruen and this series and Water For ‘Elephants. I need to try this series.

  26. May 10, 2011 6:23 pm

    I haven’t read any Sara Gruen. for some reason, the only thing I’ve picked up by her is Ape House which looked a lot edgier than this. I ended up putting it back down but maybe this would be more my pace, right now.

  27. May 10, 2011 6:37 pm

    I have this but I think it’s buried in my TBR pile – always a problem! I should probably join one of those challenges to focus on the pile for a while! :–)

  28. May 10, 2011 6:47 pm

    I read and enjoyed Riding Lessons, so I will definitely be reading Flying Changes.

  29. May 10, 2011 6:56 pm

    The only book by Sara Gruen I’ve read is Water for Elephants. But, I enjoyed that, so I should pick up these other two of hers. Thanks for sharing!

  30. May 10, 2011 7:49 pm

    Nice! I was happy to hear that both books were amazing even though the narrator had changed. Going to see if I can find it at the library next.

  31. stacybuckeye permalink
    May 10, 2011 7:51 pm

    I know everyone loves Water for Elephants but I added Riding LEssons to my list instead. Good to see the follow up is solid.

  32. May 10, 2011 8:03 pm

    I loved both of these books too! Sara Gruen is really a fantastic author, although I have to admit that I didn’t love APE HOUSE, her newest. Did you read that one?

  33. May 10, 2011 9:25 pm

    Sounds like a good book to take on vacation. 🙂

  34. May 10, 2011 9:39 pm

    I have wanted to read Water for Elephants for years now. Well, maybe once the movie is released on DVD I will find the time to read it in order to compare the two.

    I had no idea the author had written other books, and both of these sound terrific. I was really interested in reading your review of the two different narrators of the audiobooks. I have yet to find a routine that allows me to listen to audiobooks, but that is on my list for the summer.

    I want to thank you so much, Kathy, for taking the time to stop by my blog and consistently encourage me during these past few weeks. It has meant so very much to me.

  35. May 11, 2011 6:18 am

    I still have Riding Lessons to read! I find it so hard when audio producers switch readers in the middle of series. I try hard to give the new reader a chance, but it can take some getting used to.

  36. May 11, 2011 12:51 pm

    I have not heard of this author at all so I am looking forward to discovering her.

  37. May 11, 2011 9:08 pm

    I’m glad this one continued the story in a good way … even with a switch in narrator. (That seems odd to change it up, but I’m not an experienced audiobook listener yet.)

  38. May 11, 2011 9:58 pm

    I loved Water for Elephants and because of that bought Riding Lessons on the cheap at B&N a few years back. I’m sure I will enjoy it when I get to it and it’s cool to know that this is a sequel to that one.

  39. May 12, 2011 1:32 am

    I can’t believe I haven’t gotten to either one of them yet as much as I loved water for elephants! Now i’ll be on the lookout for inexpensive copies of either one! thanks for the beautiful review and reminder!

  40. May 14, 2011 10:38 am

    This sounds great!

  41. May 14, 2011 11:00 am

    I think it’s about time I get Water for Elephants. I’m thinking of getting the audio version through This one sound great as well. I suppose I should start reading Sara Gruen.

  42. May 14, 2011 9:39 pm

    I’ve never heard of this one but it sounds fantastic!

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