Fourteen-year-old Andrea Carter would rather ride her beloved palomino, Taffy, than do anything else. But life on the Circle C ranch in 1882 is busy. Between school and chores, Andi is left with little time to prepare for Taffy’s first foaling. Then when the event finally arrives, it nearly ends in disaster.
Returning to school keeps Andi hard-pressed to find time for foal training. And she now has a new problem on her hands–Macy Walker, who has been assigned as Andi’s seatmate. The new girl’s crude manners and cruel behavior bring storm clouds into Andi’s life, as does the news that cattle rustlers have moved into the valley.
When the cattle rustlers turn to stealing horses and strike the Carter ranch, Andi’s only hope for recovering her precious colts lies with Macy. Can Andi trust this wild girl? Does she have a choice?
This book delivers a little bit of everything, a look into history, character lessons, action and adventure, interesting plot, and endearing characters. It was a little slow for me at the beginning, but once Macy entered the picture, the rest of the book flew by!
The best part of this book was how real it is. Marlow demonstrates the closeness that the Carter family shares, but also shows how even close families can be affected by stress and difficult times. Andi misses the companionship of her brothers while they are struggling with the rustlers, but readers see how the family pulls together in the end.
Marlow cleverly intertwines the different plot lines without giving too much away too soon. Some of it is predictable and readers might suspect what is coming, but not in a way that it is impossible to keep reading. Some books readers can see the ending coming a mile away, but this one offers so many extras in the relationships with the characters that the predictability of the plot takes a back seat.
This book is a solid choice for any tween reader that enjoys historical fiction and for any adult that wants to offer a tween reader a good book with solid values and character lessons. It is even an entertaining read for adults!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.