How long will you stand up for what you believe when your world unravels? Lucinda Tyne Beck, VP and uber college fundraiser, uncovers illegal use of donations by her boss, Frank Wickes, the flashy new President of her alma mater on the rocky North Shore of Massachusetts. As her 17-year marriage to artsy photographer Bart Beck unravels at a betrayal Lucinda can’t deny—muchHow long will you stand up for what you believe when your world unravels? Lucinda Tyne Beck, VP and uber college fundraiser, uncovers illegal use of donations by her boss, Frank Wickes, the flashy new President of her alma mater on the rocky North Shore of Massachusetts. As her 17-year marriage to artsy photographer Bart Beck unravels at a betrayal Lucinda can’t deny—much as she’d like to—Lucinda scrambles to save the college’s reputation and her marriage.The day her husband moves out, Lucinda’s best friend arrives at her farmhouse, horse trailer in tow, with an ex-racehorse on the verge of starvation. As Bart self-destructs and Lucinda’s life is threatened as she scrambles to bring Frank to justice, she turns to a surprising ally and an intrepid dwarf miniature horse for help. Before her pursuer strikes, can Lucinda save her college, her thoroughbred mare, and find a new way to love?...
|Title||:||Halt at X|
|Number of Pages||:||384 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Halt at X Reviews
I'm giving this four and a half stars as a women's fiction novel with elements of suspense and horses, with the proviso that it won't suit every reader equally. The plot is well worked out and fleshed out with adult characters and motivations; there are two distinctly individual horses, a rescued bald eagle and some pets. Lucinda made a mistake with a roguish horseman, and the affair was over long before her husband got to hear of it. Obviously, this indicated that her marriage wasn't perfect in the first place, but she's been trying to paper over the cracks. Now her husband blames her for his alcohol problems and leaves. Berating herself all over again, Lucinda throws herself into her work. She's a fundraiser for a prestigious business and biotech college. I have to say that this aspect is beyond weird for me. In Ireland and Britain, the concept of a person or company funding a university facility or professorship would equate with corruption. One wealthy family receives the brief comment that they are trying to gain a place for a son; an apparently serious discussion on ethics has the fundraising team debating whether a commercial company should be allowed to fund a department, place their own professor and dictate policy. Answer: whatever is best for the college. This is deliberately posed as a provocative question; and a document on agreed ethics prevents fundraisers from gaining kickbacks or being paid according to the sum they raise. But there is a slush fund of a million or so set aside solely to entertain and woo donors, who may contribute thirty-five million dollars. Anyone else see any problems arising? Given that this system is accepted at institutional education level, the morass of lobbying American politicians cannot be a surprise.Another issue which baffled me is that a staff member complains that someone has been accessing and altering data on the fundraising program using her login. Nobody says "Call IT." Nobody tells her to change her login immediately. There is no computer security policy or staff in place. If there was, an IT staff member would change the login and block the original one, trace who had used it, when, and how they accessed the computer. They have to do this right away, in case of a hacker. Colleges have hackers inside and out, read 'The Accidental Billionaires' about the founding of Facebook. And the hapless staff member should demand to be separated from any taint with all this funding at stake. So this in no way rings true.We never see a single student or hear about their lives or studies. All we see are department heads, admin staff, management, who don't talk about students but themselves. In a college the students seem to be completely forgotten and absent from the scene. I definitely enjoyed the horse details, which as the title 'Halt At X' would indicate, tend to dressage. Lucinda accepts the challenge of rescuing a mare just off the racetrack, which has been fed steroids - again, in Ireland and Britain, enough to get a trainer potentially banned for life. This happens in general training? However this good deed, while filling the void left by Lucinda's husband's departure, puts her back in the proximity of the Don Juan horseman who is nonchalant about making enemies on the circuit. Seems Lucinda's got an enemy too, as someone unknown scares and occasionally stalks her. The tension mounts both at work and at home, and her husband hasn't gone far either. I did find myself reading to see what happened, hoping the horses would be okay and that a good resolution would be found in several areas. Anyone who works in the thorny area of raising funds may be interested in this tale, or those who want a subtly romantic tale of a strong woman facing challenges in business and trials of the heart.
Halt at XSally Ann SimsOne of the perils and pleasures of reviewing is that one can find oneself reading things one would never normally choose to pick up. For me, one such book is Halt at X by Sally Ann Sims. In this case, a peril became a pleasure, as I became engrossed in the intrigues surrounding fundraising activities at a New England college with its sights set on university status. At the end of each day, I looked forward to my next instalment, and read in bed long after I should have stopped. That’s surely one sign of a successful book.Someone told me recently that readers like to read about people working. If that’s the case (and I think it is) then Halt at X will satisfy on that score alone. The routines, complexities and ethics of working as a professional fundraiser are explored in detail, and I lapped them up. I have no knowledge of this kind of work, and not much of a head for figures, yet I loved everything about it. In addition, there are shady goings on that have to be investigated by Lucinda, the novel’s charming and troubled heroine, who also has marital problems, romance and a love of horses that somehow have to be accommodated into her busy schedule. There are some agreeably dislikeable characters whose plans I enjoyed seeing frustrated, and a real sense of community and interconnection across chapters. Sally Ann Sims certainly succeeds in evoking her world on and off campus. There are a great many characters in her story. I thought there were a little too many to be able to retain them all, but as these were mostly peripheral ones it did not spoil my enjoyment. Similarly, there are a lot of narrative threads and changes of point of view between sections, although Lucinda’s is the major presence. I registered this but really it did not bother me. I thought one of the threads was unnecessary, and I regretted that something major happened off-stage that I would have loved to have experienced directly.Apart from that, Halt at X is entertaining and engrossing and immensely readable. It is what I would call a light read, but one which nevertheless succeeds in discussing serious issues. If you’re looking for entertainment, romance and danger among the professional set, then Halt at X is for you.
Finally a novel with a female protagonist to admire. The likable heroine of the novel, Lucinda, carries herself with dignity, strength and ethical professionalism. She is someone I would like to know. The flow of the story is wonderful and the writing has an almost rhythmic quality to it. The author has done a great job of detailing Lucinda's work life and clearly has a grasp on the complexities of academic fund raising. The story weaves together Lucinda's professional and personal life with the overlapping story of Lucinda's rescue and rehabilitation of an off-the-track mare. The parallels work well as we witness the personal struggles that Lucinda faces in her workplace and in her marriage contrasted with the blossoming of her rescued race horse. In both there is redemption, and a woman and a horse that I wanted to root for. Great novel, great read. I highly recommend the book.
Halt at X is an impressive first novel. In addition to being immediately drawn in to the story of Lucinda Beck, a confident, competent college administrator embroiled in work-place conflict and personal crisis, I was amused by the subtle humor and completely transported into Lucinda's world by the author's descriptive style. Lucinda travels from her office in the coastal "Ivory Tower", to lavish parties courting donors at mansions, to the Puffy Muffin snack bar on campus, always making time to visit the stable to care for and ride her rescue horse. Sally Sims employs her science background and artistic talents to great effect as she brings to life the people and pets who play important roles in this suspenseful story.
Halt at X is a captivating read. The protagonist, Lucinda, is a complex, well-crafted character: academic administrator, wife in a troubled marriage, New Englander with a background and continued interest in horses. The author has managed to blend all of Lucinda's pursuits into a suspenseful plot full of twists and turns that show Lucinda's struggles to lead her life with integrity and purpose. She's a modern-day heroine I enjoyed getting to know as I read her story.
GreatLoved the book. Felt like I was in Plumcliff. Loved the characters. Prose crisp and so descriptive. Felt like I wanted to adopt the pets.