Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Good Horse Books for Xmas!

                                    by Laura Crum

            This blog was begun by a group of authors who wrote horse-themed fiction. Pretty much all sorts of horse-themed fiction—the original writers had published romance and mysteries, primarily. Over the years we were joined by authors who wrote children’s books and YA fiction, as well. And not too surprisingly, all of these authors were/are horsewomen themselves.
            The common bond linking all the EI authors is not just love of horse-themed fiction, but love of actual horses, and much of the time we blog about subjects to do with our real lives and our real horses. It is the fact that we all own (or have owned) horses and spent many years in the saddle that make our horse-themed novels believable and worth reading by others who also are horse people.
            So often, as Aarene pointed out in a facebook post not too long ago, horse themed novels are very disappointing to horse people, because the authors quickly reveal their ignorance about horses. As in the “highly praised” novel I read not so long ago (or rather, started to read and then skimmed and then tossed in the trash) that featured an abused, dangerous rescue horse that is re-trained successfully in three rides by a teenager who has never ridden and is afraid of horses. Yeah, right.
            One of the best things about all the books written by authors here on the EI blog is the fact that the horse background is accurate and effortless, coming from horsewomen who really know whereof they speak. Perhaps some books will be more to a given reader’s liking than others, depending on the sort of genre and style that is preferred, but the horse background arises from the author’s lifelong history owning and riding horses, and is accurate when it comes to detail.
            My 13 year old son has really enjoyed reading some of the YA fiction written by our EI authors, and today I am posting his review of Linda Benson’s “The Girl Who Remembered Horses.” My kid read Linda’s “The Horse Jar” quite a few years ago and liked it very much and was eager to read this new book, which is geared to slightly older readers.
            I read “The Girl Who Remembered Horses” first, to get a sense for how it would work for my son, and thought it was just about spot on perfect for a 13 year old. I really, really wish someone had given me this book for Xmas when I was thirteen. Sahara, the young heroine, is a wonderful portrait of a young girl learning to believe in herself when faced with rejection and lack of support by the people around her. And part of what gives Sahara strength is her bond with horses.
            This is a message that would have been so helpful for me to hear in my awkward early teens, when I was both horse-obsessed and a social misfit in the intolerant world of junior high. “The Girl Who Remembered Horses” would have been a real comfort to me, and would certainly have been a book that I treasured and read over and over again.
            And now, let us hear what a 13 year old boy thought of the book:

Star rating: 4 stars

            A week or so ago I finished Linda Benson’s book, “The Girl Who Remembered Horses,” in which civilization has been wiped out and the surviving humans are back to living primitively. The people (most of them) do not remember the use of horses, they think of them as something they can kill. But one girl in the “Traders Clan” has vague memories of “animals with long necks, manes, and thundering hooves!” Her memories become more complex and are proved true when she visits Gardeners Camp and reads a book on horses. Now she must convince her clan of the true meaning of horses (but can she?).
            This book was a good one and really fed my imagination on what the land might be like in the future. And the book had some twists and turns, which I liked as well (though I did predict the ending).
            I think any horse lover over 10-12 would like this book.

            To find “The Girl Who Remembered Horses” on Amazon, click on the title.


Linda Benson said...

Oh, this is awesome, like getting two reviews in one! I'm glad your son enjoyed THE GIRL WHO REMEMBERED HORSES also, Laura. Although it does have a girl main character (Sahara) there are also men and boy secondary characters, as well as lots of action scenes, so I was hoping he might like that, besides all of the horsey stuff going on.

I was also an awkward and quite shy teen (who was similarly horse-obsessed) and Sahara would have been a wonderful character for me to read about. Instead, I grew up and wrote her! I only wish I would have possessed such fortitude and strength of conviction at that age.

Thanks to both you and your son for the "two-fer" review, and Merry Christmas!

Laura Crum said...

I agree--I wish I had possessed Sahara's fortitude and strength of conviction at that age. I think she is a wonderful role model for kids of both sexes who are facing those awkward early teen years--which are often so full of rejection.

Val said...

Interesting premise.
I would not have predicted it from the title. What a nice double review.

Laura Crum said...

Val--It's a fun way to get my son to practice his book report/review skills. He enjoys the process, knowing the review will be published and the author will see and appreciate it. Much more interesting than writing meaningless book reports for an English class(!)

Alison said...

Thanks for the great review Laura's son!

I loved Linda's book, too. A great one to put under the Christmas tree!