A Quirky Menagerie – Review of “All Roads Lead to You” by Jennifer Probst

Harper Bishop is a woman on a mission. Her life mission is to rescue abused animals. All kinds of animals but her focus is horses that she rescues from abusive owners, neglectful owners, and sometimes from acquirers; people who seemingly “collect” animals and then ignore them. She rehabs and places them in forever homes where they’ll be given the love and care they deserve. In “All Roads Lead to You” Harper rescues a thoroughbred and, recognizing his potential, she dreams of training him to race, with the lofty goal of winning the Triple Crown. ‘Course it matters not that she has zero experience as a racehorse trainer but a girl has to have a dream, right? And as this is a romance, along comes a wandering Irishman, Aiden O’Conner who’s decided to vacation in America and in his wandering, fate plays its hand. He crosses paths with Phoenix, the horse that can make his reputation a legend in America and enable him to return to Ireland in triumph. Naturally there is an instant attraction between Harper and Aidan, which they wisely acknowledge and agree to ignore and keep their relationship strictly platonic.

What sets this romantic tale apart in a very crowded field is the cast of weirdly quirky minor characters: a taciturn Shakespeare-quoting jockey, a Polish chicken who hates men and terrorizes anyone and everyone it can, and a one-eyed goat that wears a chicken costume and is seemingly mute. Okay, quirkiness aside, it’s a cute story of love and hopes and dreams.

As an aside, I’d like to see better copy editing to eliminate redundancies such as “rise up” “risen up” “rose up” “rising up” and “lifting up”. They’re distracting at best and Probst is a better writer than what that exhibits. Plot and character gimmicks aside, this is a feel-good romance with a HEA and enough tension and unknowns to keep you entertained all the way to the end. Four stars.

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