Sunday, October 03, 2021

The Forever Horse, by Stacy Gregg

Maisie is horse crazy and spends her days at school drawing sketches of them during lectures.  Her teachers consider it distracting but her father doesn't mind.  He sees her latent talent and instead submits a sample to a prestigious art school in Paris, who in turn invite her to enroll.

There, her talents are less appreciated and Maisie has to deal with a hostile teacher who questions her youth, her commitment to art, and her lack of depth.  While despairing over her struggle, she stumbles across an old diary, which turns out to have belonged to a young artist of the nineteenth century who also loved to draw horses (and was similarly disparaged).  Reading the diary, Maisie finds inspiration from their common struggle.  But it is a shocking turn of events on the streets of Paris and a brave and heroic horse which put Maisie in a place to finally let go of her inhibitions and become the artist she longs to be.  

A superior (albeit formulaic) girl-and-horse story that will appeal to lovers of the genre. Lots of great horse details combined with stirring adventure and a heroine who is strong, brave, and loyal to her steed are all you really need and Gregg is an established master.  As with most novels that tell parallel stories, I always find that one of the two is the better and in this case it is really the historical one told on the pages of the lost diary.  Maisie's struggle, while full of contemporary resonance, seems less gripping and less interesting.   

 [Disclaimer:  I was provided a free copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review.  I am donating the book to charity.]

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