Saturday, March 15, 2014

Samphire Song, by Jill Hucklesby

Hit by the double blow of a father killed in action in the Middle East and a younger brother suffering from kidney disease, Jodie soothes herself by taking care of the horses at a local stable.  When she is offered the chance to buy her own horse, everyone thinks she'll find a nice gentle mare or pony to take care of.  Instead, she is drawn to a wild-eyed part-Arabian stallion.  Considered unmanageable by just about everyone, Jodie sees through his exterior and feels sympathy for an animal who needs as much TLC as she does.

It would be hard to find the justification for yet another horse book for girls as it's already a pretty crowded field.  Unfortunately, this one doesn't break new ground.  It has plenty of appealing elements and, if you like the genre, the authentic details, some adventure, a loving family, and a brave girl, then you can't really go wrong with it, but it doesn't stand out in any particularly unique way.

There is one super-distracting element of the book.  Originally published in the UK, someone made the editorial decision to Americanize the story.  This is a half-hearted affair where "Pounds" are changed to "Dollars" and "County" is (inconsistently) changed to "State." Even so, there are plenty of Anglicisms slipping in (for example, a "pub landlord") that seems sloppy.  Honestly, it would have been better to leave it alone.  Girls who love horses, also love horses in the UK just as much (if not more) than horses in the US.

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