When eighth grader Abby Lovitt looks out at those pure-gold rolling hills, she knows there’s no place she’d rather be than her family’s ranch—even with all the hard work of tending to nine horses. But some chores are no work at all, like grooming young Jack. At eight months, his rough foal coat has shed out, leaving a smooth, rich silk, like chocolate. As for Black George, such a good horse, it turns out he’s a natural jumper. When he and Abby clear four feet easy as pie, heads start to turn at the ring—buyers’ heads—and Abby knows Daddy won’t turn down a good offer.
Then a letter arrives from a private investigator, and suddenly Abby stands to lose not one horse but two. The letter states that Jack’s mare may have been sold to the Lovitts as stolen goods. A mystery unfolds, more surprising than Abby could ever expect. Will she lose her beloved Jack to his rightful owners?
Pulitzer Prize winner Jane Smiley raises horses of her own, and her affection and expertise shine through in this inviting horse novel for young readers, set in 1960s California horse country and featuring characters from The Georges and the Jewels.
From the Hardcover edition.
Smiley returns to the territory and characters of her 2009 novel, The Georges and the Jewels, in this moving sequel. Opening on Abby's 13th birthday, the story centers on her relationship with her beloved eight-month-old colt, Jack (introduced in the last book), who Abby fears she may lose after her family's ownership of Jack is contested. The 1960s setting and the Lovitt family's ranch life (and faith) are visceral presences in the book. And when heartbreaking and very adult decisions need to be made, Abby's love of horses provides a steadfast anchor. Ages 11 up. (Oct.)