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A Good Horse

Review

A Good Horse

It’s the 1960s, and Abby Lovitt is starting the eighth grade. She lives with her very strict but loving parents on their 26-acre horse ranch in California. The family business consists of buying horses at low prices, getting them healthy and handsome, training them, and selling them for a profit. Abby knows she shouldn’t get attached to the horses, but she can’t help herself, especially when they come across an extra special one like Black George.

Black George is beautiful and a gifted jumper. He sails over jumps with ease and enthusiasm, and loves doing it. Abby’s father decides to enter his daughter and Black George in a high-class horse show. With more exposure to the upper class society, they might catch the eye of a wealthy horse buyer and get top dollar for selling Black George. Abby loves riding him and will be sad to see him sold, but she understands. She also knows that training him to his full potential will make him even better. But what she doesn’t comprehend is why her heart seizes up in fear when her teacher raises the jump height to over four feet when she knows Black George can do it. 

Abby’s most favorite horse at the ranch is little Jack, the orphaned colt. His mom, Brown Jewel (or Pearl, as Abby secretly called her), died from colic not long after giving birth to Jack. Since then, Abby has taken over the care and training of Jack, and they have grown very close. But then a letter arrives from a private investigator who is working for a rich Texas rancher. A while back, someone had stolen a few of the rancher’s prize horses, and the investigator suspects that the Lovitts had purchased one of the stolen mares. If Brown Jewel is proven to be the stolen mare, the owners are going to want to take her colt back to Texas. How will Abby find the strength and courage to say goodbye to Jack?

Horse fanatics will love this sequel to THE GEORGES AND THE JEWELS, which weaves horse training and care into an exciting and heart-touching story. Abby is a determined and hard-working girl with a big heart. She also has huge obstacles to face, including a crippling fear. Fear is something that most riders encounter at some point, and Jane Smiley addresses the issue with compassion and sympathy. She adds many exciting parts, like the horse show and rounding up some trespassing cows, as well as a bit of mystery with the stolen mare case. Smiley has united her immense love of horses with her vast writing talents to create an endearing story that will stay with readers long after the last page is turned.

Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman on September 26, 2010

A Good Horse
by Jane Smiley

  • Publication Date: August 23, 2011
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Yearling
  • ISBN-10: 0375862307
  • ISBN-13: 9780375862304