Nealy Diamond can still remember the night she left her father's thoroughbred farm, thirty years before. She'd been so ill she could hardly stand, but she'd found the strength to carry her two year old daughter to the truck and to drive until she'd crossed State line into Kentucky. She'd left her home – the only place she'd ever known and the place she loved with all her heart. She'd left the horses she loved, but she knew she could always get a job on a horse farm – she had the touch. She'd left because her father had threatened to put her little daughter in an orphanage, and Nealy, seventeen years old, wouldn't be able to prevent that. She was only fifteen when she got pregnant, and the father swore he'd kill her if she ever mentioned his name. Nealy believes him, and never says who the father of her child is, preferring to put the blame on a wandering vagrant.
Luckily, after she leaves her home, she finds the Diamonds. They owned the Blue Diamond farm, and they take the teenager and her little daughter in. Maud and Jess Diamond love Nealy and her little daughter Emmie from the moment they set eyes on them. They even adopt them, and when they die, they leave their entire fortune and their thriving horse farm to Nealy. Nealy makes a promise on Maud's deathbed – Nealy will breed a Kentucky Derby winner for the farm. Nealy promises this, and she means to keep her pledge. Even though her ideas are unorthodox, and her manner of treating horses unusual, she's determined to raise a winner. But first she has to succeed in managing her newly inherited horse farm; she has to show who's the boss, for the stud farm manager and the grooms have a hard time accepting her as their superior. Only when she shows them she's as tough as any man, can she concentrate on her promise to Maud.
The book is set in the lush farmlands of Kentucky on a horse farm. As I've always been around horses it was hard for me to take some of Nealy's actions seriously. The secondary characters tend to remain in the shadows and the book lags in places. It picks up after the first two hundred pages, but that's a long time to wait.