The Ride of Her Life

A Novel

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Pub Date May 28 2024 | Archive Date Jul 23 2024

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From the author of Love at First Set, a new irresistible enemies-to-lovers, grumpy/sunshine queer romcom for fans of Delilah Green Doesn’t Care, about a wedding-obsessed city girl who inherits a horse farm from her estranged late aunt, and clashes with the cocky, unfairly hot farrier who thinks she’s going to run the barn into the ground.

Molly McDaniel’s life is falling apart. Between her day job as a barista, her night job at a call center, and her crushing student loans, she’s barely getting by. And that dream she has of starting a wedding event planning business? The dream that led to all those student loan in the first place? She can feel it slipping farther and farther out of reach every day. So the absolute last thing she needs is to discover she’s inherited a run-down, struggling horse barn out of the blue, courtesy of her estranged late aunt.

Molly is so ill-equipped to run the barn, it’s laughable. She certainly doesn’t have the money, time or knowledge needed to save it, no matter how much faith everyone who loved her aunt has that she will. But the more Molly gets involved, the more she starts to wonder: maybe the barn is a blessing in disguise. If she can sell the land, the profits could be the small-business seed money miracle she’s been waiting for. So what if she’s starting to love everyone in the mismatched family she’s found here?

Well, everyone except Shani, the resident farrier and family friend who took care of Molly’s aunt in her last days. Judgmental, grouchy Shani, who refuses to give up on the barn; who walks around like she so much better than Molly; who’s actually really good with the horses…and kind of thoughtful. And obnoxiously hot. And unfailingly loyal.

And suddenly, Shani has become an entirely different kind of problem, one Molly can’t possibly solve, not without risking her whole future, no matter how much her heart wishes she could.

From the author of Love at First Set, a new irresistible enemies-to-lovers, grumpy/sunshine queer romcom for fans of Delilah Green Doesn’t Care, about a wedding-obsessed city girl who inherits a...

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ISBN 9780063307513
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Average rating from 94 members

Featured Reviews

I was (am) so invested in the MC of this book! I really admired her guts and her passion, and seeing her achieve her dreams (+ the way she adapted and modified them along the way, listening to her heart) and also stand up to the nay-saying people around her were all so inspiring!

Also, the horses! They were so cute 😭

Also, also! It's a sapphic romance! I loved it!

TWs - death of a relative, sports related injury (secondary character), sabotage/betrayal

-- ty to the author, the publisher and Netgalley for an advanced copy!

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I started this book at the end of the year, thinking it was just going to be a super quick, silly, and a little stupid read. But I was pleasantly surprised when a sapphic country girl x city girl ended up being not just a fun read to finish of the year but also an emotional story about trying to find yourself, chasing your dreams, the struggles of growing up, and heartbreak and betrayal.

This book surprised in a way that i never expected. It made be really take time and think about my future and how hard it truly is to chase your own career goals while also trying to build a real relationship. I found both the main characters likeable and i always understood where each of them was coming from when they were telling their own side of the story.

The love and friendship the characters built throughout the story felt real and natural and not at all rushed, like i tend to see and other romance books. I also like how the characters went through real life struggles that you could face when trying to accomplish such goals like the main character.

Overall, I really enjoyed this boom and would recommend it to everyone!

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If you love Hallmark "small town" movies then you'll love this read! I enjoyed watching the sparks fly between the two leads, as well as watching Molly find her way. However, there are some "um, duh" moments that seemed obvious to the reader, so I'm not sure why Molly wouldn't think of it -- or why her friend would be the way that she is, either. But, I'm willing to suspend disbelief for the charm of the HEA in this book!

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Thank you Netgalley for providing me with an ARC of this book. This was my first F/F romance, and I was not disappointed. I think that Molly and Shani had really good chemistry and worked well together as a couple. The only thing I didn't like about the book was how Molly's relationship with her mother was left hanging in the air. I would have loved to know if Molly and her mom completely severed ties or decided to work through their issues. Overall, this was a good read. I felt satisfied at the end, and I'm glad Molly and Shani got their happily ever after.

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The Ride of her Life by Jennifer Dugan was a fun romp of a romcom. I love the found family aspect of this book and that it takes place at barn as a former horse girl. It was sweet seeing how it played out and I didn’t want to put the book down.

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the amount of feelssssss this book gave me omg. i wasn't expecting them at all. i'm not gonna lie - i thought this was gonna be just another cute lil rom-com that i'd like but forget about in a few days but god it wasn't that and i'm not complaining at all.

it was so emotional, so heart-wrenching, so realistic at its core. the relationships built were so nuanced that i couldn't help but fall for all of them. i absolutely loved the romance as well as friendships in this.

overall, this was lighthearted, yes, but also a searingly beautiful and stunning read.

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Picture hallmark romcom with actual real life problems. This book is about Molly who is in a rut in life, working as a barista while trying to fulfill her dreams to be an event planner when she unexpectedly inherits a farm from a long lost aunt. Along with the farm comes its tenant and Farrier, Shani, who is rough around the edges, but with good reason. Shani was taken in by Christina, Molly’s aunt, at a young age and took care of her in her dying days. Shani struggles to accept Molly as the new owner considering she always expected to inherit the farm. These two have to figure out how to work together to take care of the farm but disagree what should happen to it in the future. While working in close proximity they start to have feelings for each other which complicates Mollys decision to stay or sell.

Pros: queer main characters with a storyline that has nothing to do with them coming out or any adversity around their queerness, really likeable characters (for the most part), addresses realistic issues such as financial problems and relationship history, quaint setting with great descriptions, excellent pace and chapter lengths (small exception listed below), and spoiler - a happy ending!

Cons: I found this book a touch hard to get into however around chapter 4 things really picked up! I struggled with the best friend, Kat, and the ending for her and Molly. I felt like the book ending somewhat abruptly, I would’ve loved to have a short epilogue, maybe 5 years in the future or something.

Overall I found this book really fun to read with a cute story and relatable problems! Jennifer Dugan does it again!

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This was such a fun read! While the plot was certainly similar to others I’ve read before— our struggling MC inherits a horse farm from an estranged aunt and must learn to work with the other staff— I still enjoyed reading it. Molly and Shani’s rivalry turned slow burn turned love story had me kicking my feet. Had the feel of a hallmark movie with spice!

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This definitely was a great read! I loved the characters and their interactions with each other. I also loved the location and learning a lot about living on the ranch. Great book and I definitely recommend reading this book!

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In Jennifer Dugan's heartwarming novel, "The Ride of Her Life," readers embark on a journey of self-discovery and second chances alongside Molly McDaniel, a barista and aspiring wedding event planner. Molly's life takes an unexpected turn when she inherits a run-down horse barn from her estranged late aunt. Molly's initial reaction is one of dismay, as she lacks the resources and expertise to run the struggling barn. However, as she delves deeper into the world of horses and the tight-knit community surrounding the barn, she begins to see the potential for a new beginning. The barn could provide the seed money she needs to start her own business, but only if she can overcome the challenges and learn to appreciate the beauty and healing power of horses. One of the central conflicts in the story is Molly's relationship with Shani, the resident farrier and family friend. Shani is initially portrayed as judgmental and standoffish, but Molly gradually discovers her kind-hearted and loyal nature. As they work together to save the barn, their mutual attraction grows, creating a tender and nuanced romantic subplot. Dugan's writing is poignant and engaging, capturing the complexities of Molly's journey as she navigates her newfound responsibilities, her growing feelings for Shani, and the pressure to succeed. "The Ride of Her Life" is a celebration of second chances, the power of community, and the transformative nature of love. With its vivid descriptions, relatable characters, and heartwarming storyline, this novel is a compelling read that will resonate with readers long after they finish the last page.

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When Molly inherits a farm with a ridiculously hot tenant, all types of wild events follow. Readers will fall in love with Molly, who is pretty stuck in old patterns when we meet her. Readers will fall in love with Shani, the love interest, resident farrier, and absolute truth teller. This book was so much more than a romance (although every romantic element was on point); it was truly a coming-of-age story. It was lovely to watch Molly and Shani's relationship develop, but I was cheering for how far Molly came in terms of her personal development by the end. I truly loved this book.

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I’ve always wanted to participate in the cowboy romance trend, but I can hardly stand men, let alone “rugged” men. But cowgirls? You’ve peaked my interest.

Molly McDaniel knows nothing about horses, but she does know about Shani. Mostly that Shani’s hot and feisty. Molly has inherited her late aunt’s failing horse ranch and she wants nothing to do with it. Shani lives on said ranch and very much wants to keep it above water. The two women butt heads (and other things) repeatedly. Will the ranch survive? Will their relationship survive?

Molly and Shani’s chemistry had me so excited! When Molly was torn between the ranch and her “normal” life, I was feeling the same way. You know where it’s going but you still see both sides. I love how our main characters got their dreams and didn’t hold back just because their friends or family didn’t agree with the choice.

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I loved the vibes of this book — the farm setting was cozy, the side characters were all really fleshed out and entertaining, and the central romance was so swoony and easy to root for. I appreciated that the book had genuine, not easily solved stakes that definitely kept the pace up and kept me engrossed as the romance grew.

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Cowboy romances are all the rage right now, but what about a city girl/cowgirl romance? Let me tell works. I really enjoyed this one, the love/hate relationship, Molly having to learn how to run a horse farm, the side characters. It was overall just a fun and humor filled book. The miscommunication trope I'm not a huge fan of but the way it happened worked for me. I wish we would've gotten more of their happily ever after, I felt like once they finally figured themselves out, the book was over. I think I would have loved it even more if it would have been dual POV, I think romances really work better that way. If you're in your cowboy/cowgirl romance era, love a good city girl moves to a farm, mid-twenties trying to figure life out story, then this is the book for you.

Thank you to NetGalley and Avon for an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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I believe I may have a new WLW romance! Shani and Molly are the perfect enemies to lovers story. There is relatable emotion, Taylor Swift references, Mean Girls references, horses, character redemption and so much more. This book had me fully convinced I could live the farm girl life (even though I know deep down I wouldn’t last). I loved every second of this book! Thank you so much to Net Galley, Avon Books and Jennifer Dugan for the opportunity to read this ARC!

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I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I enjoyed this book a lot. It was a very fun book!

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This is probably my favorite Jennifer Dugan book to date! Cowboy books are having their moment right now and I really enjoyed this one. I was a quasi-horse girlie growing up so I was excited to relearn things as Molly learned them. All of the characters played their part, although many of the side characters did not get fully fleshed out until the second half of the book. I am a sucker for a grumpy x sunshine and this definitely delivered.

I am not a huge fan of Dugan’s other books, but I was excited to read this one and I am glad I did. My only real gripe is that the ending felt very rushed. I wasn’t ready for it to be over and it felt like there were still some loose ends to be taken care of. I think one more chapter or an epilogue could have really rounded everything out and made this a 5-star for me.

Thank you, NetGalley and Avon HarperVoyager for the free ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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The Ride of Her Life is my first Jennifer Dugan read and I am hooked. We ride along with Molly as she inherits a horse stable and the prickly farrier who lives there, along with the friendly animals and quirky folks who board them. She knows nothing of horses or her estranged aunt who bequeathed her this little surprise. Her initial intention to sell is derailed by the unexpected happiness she finds while repairing the dilapidated property. A city girl fish out of water story with a predictable plot; it did have a bit of suspense and angst despite the formulaic miscommunication trope and third-act breakup. I didn't mind the first-person perspective and being in the MCs head for her story. At times frustrating, but overall, I found the characters relatable and the conflict believable. Pop culture references and style of speaking made me comfortable and immersed. I laughed a bit and felt like this one was an accurately tagged romcom. Good queer and BIPOC rep. The main character is bi. Competency and consent are sexy in this novel. And though our two love interests have a lot of baggage to work through, we are given a happy ending. It wasn't perfect but it was well-written and despite the predictability, this feel-good sapphic romance held my interest and kept me entertained. It was a quick read and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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This cute story followed Molly, the main character, and her journey in inheriting a horse farm from her estranged aunt. If a Hallmark movie could be a book it would be this one. I found the story to be enjoyable and I liked the pace if romantic devolpment. It was a quick but well written read that I really enjoyed. Some of the storylines were left a little underdeveloped, I was left wanting more between Molly's relationships with her mom and Nat. This book also contained a few spicy scenes and had a point where the couple had a discussion regarding consent that I thought was really important. As a lesbian in the agriculture community I thiught this story was really cute and would recommend it to others!

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The Ride of Her Life by Jennifer Dugan follows Molly, a young barista/call center employee who is trying to figure out how to make her dreams work when she suddenly finds herself inheriting a small farm from an estranged aunt. Seeing it as a way to make some money to kick start her career, Molly quickly moves out to the farm to start to get some work done in the hopes that she can sell it within the next few months. But this is of course a romance novel, so things do not go to plan! Enter a small found family of horse riders, boarders, and a grumpy ( and hot) farrier, Molly must figure out herself and her future.
Molly is a 24-year-old disaster, and I loved her as I, myself, am a 24-year-old disaster. I really loved Molly and the journey she goes through to figure herself and her relationships out, and this is where I feel like this book was strongest. The relationships felt so real and focused on the idea that things need work.
I loved that in the end, there wasn’t a big romantic reason around Molly inheriting the farm and that Molly didn’t just automatically make up with Shani, Nat and her mother and she sees where she herself needs to put in more work, but also where she deserves others to put in work too. I am really happy about the way that Molly and Shani ended, especially since I honestly wasn’t fully rooting for them the whole time. As a personal preference, lack of communication between characters annoys me to know end (its dramatic irony I know but still!!), and them both realizing where they were in the wrong and starting to figure out how to move forward felt so good!
My only real gripe with the book is that I think that the second half of the book is much stronger than the first half. The side characters really didn’t feel full and come into their own until the second half and only then could I really fall in love with them. I loved everyone in the little family at the farm and would have loved to see more of them in the first half.
Thank you NetGalley and HarperCollins for providing this ARC!

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