Sam Becker, a horse whisperer, agrees to take one last job before retiring to his Texas ranch. It’s clear as soon as he meets the Taylor family in Kentucky that he’s in for a challenge. What he doesn’t expect is the way his own wounds reopen. He never really dealt with the suicide of his mentally ill wife, and he won’t be able to ignore that hurt forever.
Joshua Taylor and his horse, Calla, were a force to be reckoned with on the eventing circuit until an accident ended their careers. Most of the pain is on the inside, however, and Sam knows those injuries are the slowest to mend. Sam’s unique methods help Calla and, surprisingly, Josh, but he’s still lost without riding. Their feelings for each other come hard and fast, and Josh starts his first steps of recovery, but Sam needs to return to Texas eventually. Even if Josh is able to move past the accident, they’ll still have a long and difficult journey to make before they can be together.
One Step Forward by Tia Fielding is a sweet book about the power of love and connection in overcoming a crisis of self. When Joshua Taylor, a world-renowned jokey, got severely injured during a competition, as did his horse Calla. Sam Becker is called in to help. Neither Sam nor Joshua originally predicted the way Sam’s efforts would change both of their lives.
Fielding wrote an amazingly deep book. The characters were fleshed out to the point where the reader could almost crawl inside their skins and see life from their perspective. The “tar pit” of depression Joshua lay under in the beginning of the story threatened to take the reader down with him. But it didn’t because Sam came and brought light to Joshua’s world. Their love story was beautiful and heart wrenching. Sam put aside his own pain and sense of loss, almost selflessly, to give Joshua what he needed. Luckily, it turned out that Sam needed the same this.
The only negative aspect of One Step Forward is its pacing. At times, it moved rather slowly, but perhaps that was needed to make the characters as realistic as they were. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to see how two imperfect people enrich each other’s lives.