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Flying Changes: A Novel (Riding Lessons #2)

3.7  ·  Rating details ·  5,785 Ratings  ·  480 Reviews
There is a time to move on, a time to let go . . . and a time to fly.

“Sara Gruen writes with passionate precision about horses and their humans and the healing power of love.”—Maryanne Stahl, author of Forgive the Moon

Anxiety rules Annemarie Zimmer’s days—the fear that her relationship with the man she loves is growing stagnant; the fear that equestrian daughter Eva’s drea
ebook, 400 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published January 1st 2004)
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Dec 13, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This was a terrible, terrible book. I picked it after it was recommended to me as a good horsey novel, and the only thing that kept me reading all the way through was sick curiosity. I wanted to see if the ending would be as trite as I predicted. It was.

The main character is self-absorbed, unlikeable, and her flaws are not entertaining enough to make her unlikeable yet interesting (as I'm someone who enjoys unlikeable yet interesting characters). For example: she throws a hissy fit when her extr
Nov 20, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A friend gave me a bunch of iPad books and this was among them; I don't know how I didn't realize that the author was the same as Water for Elephants, but when I finished and realized it, a lot made sense.

Let's get one thing out of the way right now; I think horse people are on the crazy side. There, I said it. If you're a horse person and don't think you're crazy, you're probably wrong but it's OK. Anyway, the book starts out with lots of horse stuff and I was a bit put off by it, but figured h
Based on the reviews I read before starting this second book following Riding Lessons, I was worried I wasn't going to like this. I'm so glad I stayed on course. I loved this book. It probably helps that I have ridden horses, shown horses, and own a horse. I've ridden English and Western and jumped fences. I know exactly what it means when the smell of a barn warms your heart. There is something about a teenage girl and a horse. It's a bond hard to understand.
Annemarie is not an easy character
Em W
Jan 16, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
That was…pretty bad. The main character was really annoying (everything makes her cry). I can't believe this is the same author as Water for Elephants.
Oct 09, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horses
Fantastic – I had no idea there was still melodramatic horse fiction for grownups! Annamarie Zimmer is almost forty, newly divorced and living on her mother’s horse farm. In her former life, she was a Olympic level equestrian, but that all changed after her tragic accident (isn’t that how it always goes?) When her teenage daughter decides to ride competitively, Annamarie has to come to terms with her daughter’s choice and her own history. And then the last third of the book takes a spectacular t ...more
Feb 10, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Well, I finished the book , so I figured it at least deserved two stars. I was very disappointed in it because I had read the novel Water For Elephants by the same author and absolutely loved it. This was a story about equestrians, their horses, their love lives, their past problems etc. I guess there was a prequel to it, but I have no desire to go back and read it. I guess I would just describe it as poor chick lit.
Mary Catherine
Mar 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading WATER FOR ELEPHANTS, I wanted to read anything by Sara Gruen. I found RIDING LESSONS and FLYING CHANGES easily and knew I wanted to read them just based on their summaries. I’m both fascinated and terrified of horses and these two novels granted me a glimpse into the lives of those who breathed the animals in and out on a daily basis.

RIDING LESSONS begins with a potential Olympian equestrian – Annemarie Zimmer – in a terrible and tragic accident. In shock and filled with a sadness
Jessie Frederick
Oct 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
I think you can tell from other reviews of this two-book series that this is DEFINITELY not Sara Gruen's best work. Water for Elephants was truly incredible, but the Riding Lessons series seems like it was written by another person entirely. But it's good to know that Sara Gruen got so much better as a writer. I also really liked Ape House, so it's safe to say I'll read At the Water's Edge eventually.

But let's talk about Flying Changes. I liked this sequel better than Riding Lessons. Annemarie w
I read this because, as the friend who suggested it said, "it's about horses and it's easy to read"--and I'd read the first book. Gruen was the new hot thing after "Water For Elephants." But honestly, this book isn't worth the time it took to read.

It isn't so much ABOUT horses as that there are horses in it. The heroine-narrator drove me nuts. What a mess. She never learns or grows or changes--she's just a whiny, self-involved jerk. Her daughter is just like her, only a teenager. Which is worse
Jul 03, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chicklit, horses, animals
sequel to Riding Lessons, this is more the story of eva than annemarie, except not. eva gets a more central role, but annemarie is still the driving force - behind everything.

again, gruen writes about the special bond between a horse and a person, and she does it so well it makes my heart ache. this completes the story she was telling earlier, and i think it's stronger than her first go. (not just because the image of a blue roan doing one-tempi changes makes me swoon.)

this is more of a roman
Patti Salmon
Having read Riding Lessons, I figured I would continue on with Flying Changes. I found I was getting more and more aggravated with the characters in this book. The mother is a whiney, self centered marshmallow of a woman, and her daughter Eva is SUCH a brat with no respect for her monther or anyone else that I wanted to scream. Yes I ride horses, and yes I am a horsewoman and this is probably why the storyline bothered me SO very much. All very predictable but in such an annoying way, like nails ...more
Jun 24, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I will read any book about horses. This one is written by the author of the "goodread" Water for Elephants and it took me one long night to read it. Flying Changes is as cheesy as any horse tale out there. The characters seem one dimensional. The plot is simple, uninteresting, and poorly navigated. The experience of traumatic injury is misunderstood and misrepresented. So, why did I devour the pages? Simply because it is about horses. If you do not love horses, do not read this book. I am quite ...more
May 15, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
How can this be the same author as the one who wrote Water for Elephants? Similar to Admission, which I recently finished, Flying Changes also has a late-30s self-centered somewhat pathetic female protagonist who I almost had to abandon midway through. Skip this one, even if you did spend more of your youth on rather than off horses!
Jan 11, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't realize this was book #2 until I finished it. Regardless, I didn't enjoy it. Neither the main character nor her daughter were strong females; they were dramatic (in a ridiculous way).
Jul 08, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
1.5 stars

I wanted to see if the second book would redeem the first, but I still just do not like this series. The main character and her daughter are both illogical, irrational, and down right annoying. I didn't think it was possible, but this book was more unrealistic than it's predecessor. The skills that the daughter has are BEYOND unrealistic. A 16 year old who has gotten lessons here and there up until a year prior and then became serious about riding for a year would not be able to perform
May 23, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chick-lit
I devoured this in just a few days and found myself trying to squeeze in "just a few more pages" here and there. This picks up where Riding Lessons leaves off and continues to focus on AnneMarie, her daughter Eva, and AnneMarie's mother, Mutti, as Eva makes the decision to ride (and jump) competitively - forcing AnneMarie to face her fears related to her accident 20+ years prior. Gruen ties up quite a few loose ends left in the plot after Riding Lessons, as well as throwing in some dramatic twis ...more
Andrea Larson
I picked up this book at the library because I enjoyed Gruen's other book, Water for Elephants, so much. Though I didn't enjoy this one as much, it was a good read all the same.

The story is about three horsewomen, most notably, Annemarie Zimmer, a 40 year old single mother of Eva, 16. Her mother, Mutti, and Austrian "character" also lives with them on their horse farm, where they teach riding lessons.

Annemarie has fairly recently recovered from being paralyzed by a jumping accident, in which sh
A Wonderful story woven around horses

My friend gave this book for my birthday. We are both avid readers and she knew that I had read Sara Gruen's "Riding Lessons". I really enjoyed that book and I was delighted to receive the sequel, Flying Changes. With eager eyes I sat down that evening and read the book (well almost, I finished it up the following evening). It goes without saying that Ms. Gruen is a wonderful storyteller and she continued that ability in this story. I'm not expert on horses,
May 01, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would give this book 4 1/2 stars if I could because I really enjoyed the story, but it doesn't go on my list of all time favorites and I didn't enjoy it as much as Water for Elephants so I didn't give it a 5. I did, however, think it was a better story than Riding Lessons. (I am surprised that it does not mention on the cover of Flying Changes that the story is a continuation from Riding Lessons. Although you could easily read it and enjoy it without having read Riding Lessons.) Anyway, good b ...more
Jul 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's rare for a sequel to be better than the first novel, but this is certainly true of "Flying Changes" compared to "Riding Lessons". While I appreciate both novels, in "Flying Changes" you see the characters grow up and mature as a result of their experiences which is far more enjoyable than the last minute shift in the first book. In the sequel, Annemarie is really trying to be a better mother to her teen daughter Eva, which proves even harder than she expected. But she overcomes her fears an ...more
Jan 24, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoy Flying Changes for what it is, a fast and entertaining read, and forget what it is not - another Water for Elephants.

A rebellious teenager, a difficult horse, the teenager's mother scarred by her own riding traumas and failed relationships, the wiser than acknowledged mother's mother, sprinkled with tradegies great and small are a delicious combination for an afternoon or evening of reading. There are both oh-please! eye-rolling scenarios and some aw.......... moments and some just-plain r
Nov 22, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've always been sort of scared of horses and have never been interested in going near them or riding one and being allergic to them doesn't help. Reading Gruen's books have opened my eyes to a whole different world. At the end of Flying Changes (book 2) I have an entirely different notion about horses. I still can't picture ever getting on one but I can now see why so many people love horses and everything else to do with them. Gruen gave such detail and heart into the backbone of this story th ...more
Savannah Stone
Sep 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this book so much, I really understood it. The way Sara Gruen explains some of the things in this book is so great! I really thought that I was there with the characters through all the ups and downs and all of that, but what I loved most about this book was that I could relate to it, for instance when she talked about horses I could totally see myself in the character's shoes. At some points I really wanted to cry but you start to smile because of the outcome. This book is one of my favo ...more
Susy Goelkel
I'm so upset. What a waste of my time. One bad ride, makes her a weak and insecure woman and terrible mother. Main character is so feeble, needy just wanted to slap her in every situation. No wonder her daughter is a brat and such a bitch at 16. I finished it because of book club. Where is the women who wrote Water for Elephants?
Apr 16, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The teenager plays more of a role in this book, she is hard to like, pretty bratty. The Mom is strong and yet not strong at the same time. The boyfriend comes in at the end and the ending is what is expected in a chick flick movie.
Jul 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To be honest it was a little predictable but i still loved it. I couldnt put the book down all day. I love reading about how far people will go for their families and also horses. I want to know what ended up happening to little Squire... Poor thing.
Aug 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a good read for me as I love horses and this author brings her stories alive. It was also a sequel to Riding Lessons and I like sequels. I like the idea of keeping the characters going on. It gives the stories a life so to speak.
May 05, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book for 2 reasons...Sara Gruen (water for elephants) and the story of a mother and teenager daughter. The author has clearly lived with teenage females! Not as good as W.F.E - just didn't pack the same punch but glad to spend the time I spent reading it.
Pip Snort
Jun 19, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Once again Annemarie and Eva come to the fore, but this time the focus is on Eva and her desire to tread in the family footsteps and take up an equestrian career. Eva is defying her parents in any way she can and Annemarie has no control or seeming way to restrain her. (A parental nightmare...) Allowing Eva to ride and compete might be one way to focus her energies more productively. However, unsurprisingly, everything continues to fall apart for both Annemarie and Eva. For Annemarie because she ...more
Simone Schreiber
A nice book I came back to every time I needed an easy read. The ending and romance part of the story was very predictable, but I liked the arch in between and especially the depiction of horses and the relationship between them and their humans - there could have been much more of the latter. Don't expect too much of this book, but it makes for a good light summer read, with horses.
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omg its the best 1 10 Sep 05, 2012 06:15AM  
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Sara Gruen is the #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of five novels: AT THE WATER'S EDGE, APE HOUSE, WATER FOR ELEPHANTS, RIDING LESSONS, and FLYING CHANGES. Her works have been translated into forty-three languages, and have sold more than ten million copies worldwide. WATER FOR ELEPHANTS was adapted into a major motion picture starring Reese Witherspoon, Rob Pattinson, and Christ ...more
More about Sara Gruen...

Other Books in the Series

Riding Lessons (2 books)
  • Riding Lessons (Riding Lessons, #1)
“To be sure, I'm not perfect wife material: I'm neurotic. I'm compulsive. I speak before I think and can't cook worth a damn. I'm messy and germaphobic all at once, and it's not entirely unheard of for me to get hold of the wrong end of the stick and then hang there like a pitbull.” 12 likes
“But it wasn't long before the old familiar discontent started creeping up on me. I suppose it was always there, somewhere in the background. All I've done, my whole life, is keep it temporarily at bay.” 6 likes
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