Friday 3 August 2012

Mystery Horse

Mystery Horse Mystery Horse by Jane Smiley (Allen&Unwin)
PB RRP $16.99
ISBN 978-0-571-27936-4
Reviewed by Ann Harth ( )

When Abby hands over a five dollar note and a handful of change and becomes the owner of a pretty, dappled grey horse, she gets more than she bargained for. True Blue is smart, sensitive and well-behaved. He’s also haunted.

Abby is convinced that True Blue’s former owner, who was killed in a car accident, is refusing to give up her beloved horse. She feels an eerie presence surrounding True Blue who strengthens her fears with his odd behaviour. Abby struggles with her dread, avoiding the truth until the end of the book when she no longer has a choice.

Mystery Horse is a novel that will appeal to horse lovers aged 9+. The gentle pace and thorough characterisation offers the reader a chance to relax, settle in and become involved in Abby’s life, following her through her troubles with a family at church, a broken wrist and her new employment teaching riding to kids.

Detailed facts and information are scattered liberally throughout this book, increasing the reader’s knowledge of riding, training and caring for horses. The author’s love for these animals is evident in her descriptions and understanding of the workings of a horse’s mind.

Jane Smiley is the author of eleven novels. Among other awards, she received the 1992 Pulitzer Prize for fiction for A Thousand Acres. Her interests are many and varied and she has written for numerous magazines. Mystery Horse is her third book for young readers and continues Abby’s adventures from Nobody's Horse and Secret Horse.

Horse lovers will adore True Blue and mystery lovers will relish the thrill of suspense that is woven through the pages.

Ann Harth is a published children's author and writing tutor at Australian College of Journalism. She loves to read and is committed to creating children's literature that inspires, entertains and triggers a tiny twist in the mind. Her latest middle-grade novel, The Art of Magic, is now available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble. 

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