Fifteen-year-old Thea Atwell is angry and somewhat frightened. She knows she's responsible for the tragedy that is ripping her family apart, but she hates the idea of being abandoned at the Yonahlossee Riding Camp in the mountains of North Carolina far from her beloved home in Florida.
Thea has lived a sheltered life with her parents and twin brother, Sam, on their thousand acre citrus plantation. Taking lessons from her father, she's never been to school and has no girl friends. Her favorite companion is her pony Sasi. This makes Yonahlossee particularly difficult. She has no idea what to expect from other girls.
Thea, however, is adaptable and soon has a best friend. She's an excellent rider and shows that she can excel in an area important to camp status. Although she makes a place for herself at Yonhalossee, she is homesick throughout the first half of the novel. It is only after an illness when she realizes that her parents won't come for her that she decides to make a way for herself and forget her family. How well she succeeds is the second half of the book.
I enjoyed the book, particularly the descriptions of the riding camp. The author does a good job of portraying a girl who loves horses and lives to ride. The thirties were a different time when being respectable was much more important than it is today. I thought the setting and time period were well done.
The characters were interesting. The girls all have individual personalities and it was fun to get to know them and become involved in their lives. My one criticism of the book is that the secret that seemed so terrible was used a gimmick to keep the tension high. Personally, I figured out what had happened, if not in all the particulars, at least in general. It was obvious from the opening, so dragging the secret out through three hundred plus pages got a bit wearing.
If you love horses, you'll enjoy this book. I did.
I reviewed this book for the Amazon Vine Program.