Everything in helena's life is in perfect order. As the daughter of magistrate and quarry owner Lord Roseby, she has a comfortable home on a grand estate, and with the help of her best friend, Jamie the stable boy, she is secretly able to ride her father's powerful horses -- without the confines of a side saddle. Then in a single day, everything changes. A visit from the local customs officer reveals that dangerous smugglers are on the loose in Helena's quiet village. That same evening, Lord Roseby brings home a mysterious and beautiful stallion. Before Helena knows what's happened, her world is turned completely upside-down, and becomes more exciting than she ever could have imagined.
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Victoria Holmes grew up on a farm in England, where she learned to ride at the age of two. When she wasn't riding ponies and hand-rearing calves, she enjoyed reading and writing stories of her own. She studied English at Oxford University, where the beautiful ancient buildings and sense of tradition inspired an interest in history. Victoria now works in London as a children's book editor and escapes to the English countryside whenever she can to ride horses and walk her dog, Missy.From School Library Journal:
Grade 6 Up–Lady Helena, 15, is a talented horsewoman and secret trainer of her father's prize-winning horse. When her father wins high-spirited Oriel in a bet, he threatens to sell him for fear he can't be tamed. Helena immediately sets out to prove the man wrong with the help of her best friend and stable boy, Jamie. While on a midnight ride, Helena discovers that Jamie is involved with a local smuggling ring but chooses to deny her upbringing and keep his secret. Then, when murderous wreckers begin taking the lives of local seamen, Helen, with the help of Oriel, risks her own life and Jamie's exposure to help capture the wreckers and prove that Oriel is indeed an animal to be trusted. This novel is reminiscent of Black Beauty and National Velvet, but adds a parallel story line about 18th-century England's politics, class structure, and judicial system. However, this tale is not weighed down under the overlapping themes but instead shines as a fast-paced tale appealing to readers with diverse interests.–Kimberly Monaghan, formerly at Vernon Area Public Library, IL
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