My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The One Dollar Horse provides a much needed twenty-first century spin to the horse story. Full of urban edge, and yet never quite losing that fairytale element all good horse stories have, The One Dollar Horse is a book that pony lovers will adore.
It’s written by the superb Lauren St John (author of the amazing Laura Marlin series) and St John knows her horse world. She writes with a thrilling competency that reminded me of some of the greats of horse fiction – Caroline Akrill, Ginny Elliot and Patricia Leitch.
Casey Blue is a fairly typical horse-mad teenager. That is, until she comes across a wild horse destined for the knackers yard in the back streets of Hackney. Rescuing this horse proves the first step in fulfilling her dream of competing at Badminton – and it’s not an easy ride (both literally and metaphorically) for Casey to get there.
The joy of horse stories is that, when done well, they’re world-class. They’re tales of how when you do the right thing, when you’re kind to animals, and when you believe in yourself, you can achieve great things.
In The One Dollar Horse, Lauren St John has done all this and she’s also thrown a hot trainee farrier into the mix. There’s also a very nice edge in how she writes certain characters into getting their just desserts. It’s not moralising didacticism, it’s an almost karmic retribution and it’s brilliant to read.
I do try not to use the word brilliant when reviewing a book by Lauren St John but somehow I always seem to fail. Okay. I give in. The One Dollar Horse is a brilliantly modern spin on the horse story and I really really loved it. Because it was brilliant.
(So very very brilliant).