Title: First Past The Post
Author: S. J. Garland
Published: July 4th, 2021
Publisher: Maple Kakapo
Bring together a self-determined daughter of New York’s High Society, a Duke with a penchant for thoroughbred race horses and strong women, a violent horse racing syndicate that will stop at nothing to get what they want, with a story set in both New York and Great Britain in the time of Queen Victoria, and you have First Past The Post.
The story begins in New York with Eva McKenzie and her friend Lily at the horse auction in Sheepshead Bay. Eva meets a mysterious Duke who sets her instincts alight in warning. The Duke conversely finds that Eva is one of the most stubborn, infuriating, and attractive women he’s ever encountered. After a fire breaks out and a horse-napping occurs, Eva trusts the Duke even less and suspects him of being complicit with a rumoured Trans-Atlantic horse racing syndicate.
Eva and the Duke begrudgingly join forces and travel across the Atlantic Ocean only to find themselves in the crosshairs of the horse syndicate and two steps behind their every move. This romantic adventure is set in the backdrop of Victorian England and its not-so-royal underbelly.
Follow the Duke of Wiltshire and Eva Chanler McKenzie across continents, through high society drawing rooms, down dark alleys, and you will find yourself cheering them on while they search for the truth about the horse syndicate and their budding feelings for one another.
This is a book that follows the lives of Eva Mackenzie whose horse gets stolen and she decides to chase after the kidnappers in order to recover it. Her parents and the society at large, being set in the olden days, are chauvinist and against Eva pursuing her horse. Flanked by her best friend Lily and two acquaintances, one of whom is Francis, they travel with her across the seas.
I didn’t enjoy the horseracing stuff because I felt it was boring. Just not my thing. And being the main them in the book, I struggled reading that part. However, I love the adventure they went through even though it was very dangerous. Eva is a really smart and tough lady, strong willed and agile. The setting was wonderful, and the descriptions picturesque. The relationship between Francis and Eva is wonderful. Slow burn and exciting. The two friends are one of a kind and I love their friendship. It was full of suspense especially towards the end when Lily’s character came in question. I think Lily would make a very strong MC as well, and I would love to read a book about her and her adventures as well.
Thanks to S. J. Garland for the arc copy of this book.