James Patterson and Mike Lupica's new book centers on mother-and-daughter equestrians
The Horsewoman was released Monday and is available online and in stores.
Mother-and-daughter equestrians are the focus of a new book by best-selling author James Patterson and veteran sportswriter Mike Lupica.
Released Monday, "The Horsewoman" tells the tale of champion show jumpers Maggie Atwood and and her daughter, Becky McCabe, who are vying for the same spot on the Olympic team.
The women had previously vowed not to compete against each other, but a serious accident sets in motion events that put mother and daughter on the same competitive path.
A third woman, Becky's grandmother, also plays a big role in the story.
"This is an epic family story about a mother and a daughter, as well as the matriarch of the family, the grandmother," Lupica said.
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The book, available online and in stores, is set in a world familiar to Lupica, a Wellington resident who lives near the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.
Lupica's wife and daughter both ride horses, and he is a regular visitor to the Winter Equestrian Festival.
"Mike and I got together originally over breakfast to talk about some kids' books, and then Mike brought up horses," said Patterson, a longtime Palm Beach resident. "He's very interested in horses, because both his wife and daughter are really good riders. We started talking about a kids' book dealing with horses and equestrians, and then we decided to do it as an adult book, because we thought it was a really good mother-daughter story."
The Horsewoman is an emotional family tale about two women chasing the same dream, Lupica said, but it's also a drama that puts the reader in the middle of the fiercely competitive world of champion show jumping.
Both Maggie and Becky dream of becoming the best horsewoman in the world, Lupica and Patterson write, and both hope to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
"The first time Jim and I met, he said what fascinated him about the world of show jumping was that men compete against women and teenagers compete against riders in their 60s," Lupica said. "There are no limitations that way, and there's really no other sport like it. It's part of the drama of this book. It puts me in the scene. What we think we've done is we've put you in the ring, and we do it again and again and again, all the way to the Olympics."
Patterson and Lupica, who have authored more than 250 books between them, spent about nine months outlining and writing "The Horsewoman."
That process, completed amid the coronavirus pandemic, was an enjoyable one, Lupica said.
"Writing this book was a blast for both of us," he said. "We had a lot of fun. We couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen next in the story."
Patterson said he hopes a post-holidays release would spur interest in the book, particularly in Palm Beach.
The island is home to two popular bookstores: The Palm Beach Book Store on Royal Poinciana Way, and Classic Bookshop on South County Road.
"Palm Beachers need this right now, because the competition in the novel world is nothing," Patterson said. "Post-Christmas, nothing comes out. Everybody's seen everything on Netflix and Prime right now. Many people have nothing to do. Plus, we want to support our two fine bookstores. It's very important to Mike and I."
The book has been released to strong early reviews, and has earned a 4.5-star rating on Amazon.
Patterson said the mother-daughter relationship contained within the novel has appealed to many readers.
"With all of my books, (publisher) Little, Brown and Co. will get advanced readers," he said. "They got 100 readers to read this book — and this has never happened before — but all 100 of the readers gave 'The Horsewoman' either four or five stars. Two of the women also started a mother-daughter book club after reading the book, because it was so appealing to moms and daughters."
Jodie Wagner is a USA TODAY Network of Florida journalist. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Help support our journalism. Subscribe today.