Eight Seconds by Frances Dall’Alba is set in rural Australia. It is a story with romance, survival, passion, and courage to follow your dreams.
In 1966 twelve year old Grace Lucas has a troubled home life. To escape her father’s temper she is able to ride a horse, Megaton, at her neighbour Liz’s farm. Megaton was Grace’s true friend.
Liz took her own sons and Grace to a Rodeo. Liz entered Grace into the poddy competition.
Grace nearly changed her mind. The only way to stop being scared was to give it a go. She just had to hold on tight for eight seconds – how hard could it be!?
Grace was the only rider to make the eight seconds. They were the longest in her entire life and she would never forget them. She was hooked.
Little did she know the rodeo world was a male-dominated sport. Being a girl had never stopped Grace from doing anything. But, the Association rules were that girls were not allowed to compete against boys. Reluctantly they allowed her to have the trophy.
In the present day, Erin Blackwater spends her weekends at her grandparent’s tranquil acreage property with her dog Lacey. Her grandparents, and parents are all pulling her in different directions.
Erin has taken a break from her medical degree. She has completed 4 years and still has 2 years to go. Her parents, brother, and boyfriend are all doctors. Erin realises that it is THEIR dream for her, but it is not HER dream.
Erin has taken a job as a medical researcher. Her first project is to interview Grace and document her miracle recovery.
Erin needs to delve into Grace’s past health and emotional factors that might have contributed to her rehabilitation.
The interview is some years after Grace’s rodeo days have finished. Her house is filled with trophies and ribbons from horse shows. Grace explains that her horse and her family mean the world to her.
As Grace relates her life story, leaving home at an early age, suffering abuse, troubled marriages, and a happy one, a passionate love of horses shines through.
Grace has lived her life to the fullest without fear or regrets.
Erin is inspired by Grace’s strength and resilience and realises that she needs to take control over her own life and make changes.
She needs to start with her relationship first. She had met her boyfriend in college days. Her parents love him but since living together a sinister side of his nature has surfaced.
Erin wonders about where her love and connection to animals and the countryside has come from. Could it be from her other grandparents who she has never met?
Grace has organised Tom, a friend and local vet to give Erin horse riding lessons. Will Erin have the courage and strength to follow her own dreams, at the risk of upsetting her family?
This exceptional story of two strong women is narrated by Grace with chapters in the past and present, and by Erin telling her own story in the present.
Fate has brought Grace, Erin and Tom together. The action in their lives keeps you engaged. Some events will make you laugh, but others are filled with sadness.
What makes this book even more amazing, is that Grace’s character is based on the life of Dianne Lucas Lippi. Frances discovered Dianne’s story while searching The Women’s Museum of Australia to find an inspiring woman to base a story on. Frances says that it is not a biography but a story inspired by the life Dianne has lived so far. At the end of the book is a link to a photo gallery of Dianne. Rodeo changed in 1984 when the sex discrimination Act was passed. Women could no longer be excluded.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it.
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I love to read, any book on any topic. I now love ebooks as they are easier to store, I was running out of bookshelves! My other interests are family, gardening and our beautiful King Charles spaniel dog who is my reading companion.