We’re off to the races with the epic romantic adventure: The Highest Stakes, and when I say epic, I really mean epic, the novel spanning over the years as two lovers fight to be together and are torn part by the greed of others and finally reunited after going through hell and back, but their love was ever constant and strong. The stakes are none so higher when it comes to love and horse racing with the cast of characters sharing the spotlight at one time or another, but none so much as Robert and Charlotte. Robert Devington a groom and Charlotte the niece of Sir Garfield are truly in love and have been for a long time, and to prove himself Robert puts his neck out time and again to prove his worth to Sir Garfield, so he mat marry Charlotte, but no matter what he does Sir Garfield turns down or somehow foils any marriage between the two lovers. After so many plans that failed, this doesn’t stop Robert or Charlotte from believing and hoping that one day they will be together. Through the story, Robert is the constant hero, sometimes brash but never unkind, he loves deeply, that it pains the reader when his plans fall apart to somehow make Charlotte his wife, from being a groom, to becoming a solider, then facing even death Robert never gives up his dreams and later revenge on those whom have done him wrong. Charlotte is strong, but not a feisty heroine, whom not only believes in Robert, but a horsewoman beyond her time. These two fight a lot of pains to be together one again. And even with the big misunderstanding that tears them apart for awhile, and am not a fan at all of the Big Mis,Emery Lee made it work smoothly. Much of the book not only revolves around the lives of Robert and Charlotte and those whom they know and family, but around horses and horse racing. Now am going to be upfront, am not one whose big of horses, oh I love horses and had three amazing horses whom I cared and loved (never did ride, as they were more pets and pals) and the author does focus a lot of the book on the history of horses and horse racing at the time, that could become very tedious at times. But as I started to really read I noticed Emery Lee using the horses and horse racing as a sort of metaphor for what was or are going to happen to the characters. From the underdog winner to the steadiness and quiet strength in a calvary horse but also in the solider whose riding into battle. I thought this was cleverly done, that instead of skimming, I tended to pay attention to these races. Like a true race, with the hooves pounding the turf, the crowd cheering on their favorite this book never let up in it’s pace, and kept you guessing. Some books are very predicable that the reader feels their going backward then forward, this book is never predicable, far from it, you never know what going to happen. Nothing ends up the way you think it would, and I early on fool myself into thinking I knew what was going to happen, and that was nip in the bud real quick. Along with the unpredictably of the story, the characters were also shown in black and white and also in deep shades of grey. While some characters were driven by love others were driven by greed and lust. Philip Drake for example only thinks about one thing himself, and is out to get his heiress by any means possible, while being Robert’s friend, his plans blow up in his face as he helps destroy one of the plans between Robert and Charlotte. Philip was one character whom at times seem like he cared and other times a true schemer. He could have done thing differently, in order to archive his goals, instead tried to take the easy way out. Philip knows he’s done wrong but never goes out of his way to prove himself to be better. EL showing what evil ambition can do. Many of the evil characters get their just desserts but in very subtle ways. With many of their plans falling apart at the seams. While I wanted more focus on Robert (mostly) and Charlotte, I found that some of the focus shifted to other unlikeable characters whom I could cared less about, this expanded the story that much more. Being a romance, in a lot of books now of days you expect sex, in The Highest Stakes, this happens off screen or implied with a little groping and some heavy kissing (and an almost rape scene as the character gets out of there quickly) but that’s it, I really liked how this was done, with the main focus on their actions and consequences of the characters because they had sex , then just the physical act itself. The Highest Stakes was an even expanding book, with the ending a tad abrupt for me, but then again if my plans to marry the guy I love were foiled so many times and I got my chance for a clean break, I do it Las Vegas style and get married as quick as I can!! Then epilogue did smooth this out making a clean break from the past hurts to the future joys.Overall:. I greatly enjoyed this book from start to finish with a few little bumps in the road, this book never let my attention stray far and kept me reading, wanting to find out what would happen next! I can’t wait for this author’s next book!