Blind Beauty

Blind Beauty

4.9 15
by K. M. Peyton, Nicki Paull

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Tessa has an impossible dream: to ride her great-hearted horse, Buffoon, in the Grand National. But who will support her plan to become a jockey? She's been repeatedly kicked out of boarding school, and her rich stepfather hates her. And could the sometimes clumsy, nearly blind Buffoon ever be expected to survive such a difficult racecourse?

Tessa pursues… See more details below


Tessa has an impossible dream: to ride her great-hearted horse, Buffoon, in the Grand National. But who will support her plan to become a jockey? She's been repeatedly kicked out of boarding school, and her rich stepfather hates her. And could the sometimes clumsy, nearly blind Buffoon ever be expected to survive such a difficult racecourse?

Tessa pursues her dream across troubled teenage years while growing in responsibility, self-respect, and understanding. A magnificent steeplechase, thrillingly evoked, caps this vivid, romantic, fast-paced novel by a writer who is the undisputed master of exploring the bonds between horses and people.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
When Tessa's parents split up and she is torn from the side of Shiner, the eyeless mare she has doted on since early childhood, Tessa grows into an angry and rebellious spitfire. Kicked out of every school that tries to tame her, the 12-year-old is at last sent as an unwilling worker to the small farm run by tenants of her nasty stepfather (a man whose vices include cruelty, the glaring ostentation of the nouveau riche and--perhaps worst of all, by this book's standards--no true feeling for racing and horses). On the farm, Tessa sulks and scowls until she discovers that Buffoon, the awkward, gangling new horse she's been assigned to care for, is--in a bit of forgivable novelistic coincidence--the offspring of her long-lost Shiner. With Buffoon as the new focus of her prodigious energies, the headstrong girl struggles against numerous obstacles in order to eventually achieve the goal of riding her charge in the Grand National. British author Peyton's (Snowfall) knowledge of the racing world is thorough enough that readers will likely overlook a few halting shifts in point of view and some sloppy writing (e.g., "As well as running the home, she did the paperwork for both the farm and the racing department and ran a poultry business as well," Tessa observes of the woman who runs the tenant farm). Her distinctively cadenced prose ("And an idiotic smile lit up her face, Tom could almost feel it, like an electric fire. What a girl!") keeps the narrative galloping at a cracking pace. Ages 12-up. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Tessa is young when her parents' divorce forces her to leave her favorite horse, a blind mare named Shiner. Tessa's mother remarries a rich and cruel man who owns racehorses just to make money. After several years of being expelled from a series of boarding schools, Tessa ends up working for kindly stable owner Peter. Peter assigns her to care for an ugly horse named Buffoon, and Tessa resents the job until she learns that Buffoon is Shiner's foal and has the makings of a fine racehorse. Tessa battles her stepfather, the racing establishment, and Buffoon's impending blindness to watch him race in the legendary Grand National steeplechase. Her stepfather sabotages the race, and Tessa retaliates by stabbing him in the chest. When the severely depressed Tessa is released from confinement two years later, romantic overtures from a young jockey and the support of Peter's stable allow Tessa to find Buffoon again. She heals his cataracts and starts training to ride him in the Grand National herself. The novel ends with the exciting description of her ride in the race. This modern horse fable has a British setting and an old-fashioned feel of such classics as Enid Bagnold's National Velvet and Anna Sewell's Black Beauty, with a contemporary teen playing the lead. Blind Beauty is a novel for the older reader who wants gritty teen plot lines but is not quite ready to give up the sheer poetry of a quality horse story. It is a sure winner for fans of horse stories and for girls who like a strong-minded, determined heroine. VOYA CODES: 4Q 3P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7to 9). 2000, Dutton, 368p, . Ages 12 to 15. Reviewer: Hillary Theyer SOURCE: VOYA, April 2001 (Vol. 24, No.1)
Author of the Flambard Trilogy and numerous other novels about teenagers (and frequently about horses as well), Peyton now gives us a long story about a young girl and her horse that will capture just about any reader. When the story begins, Tessa is a toddler who loves a blind horse. Within a few chapters, she is 12 years old, the angry stepdaughter of a rich tyrant who invests in racehorses; and Tessa's mother is reduced to a passive ornament in this new husband's life, one of the reasons Tessa is so furious. The plot cannot be easily summarized, but Tessa's life abruptly changes when she begins work at nearby stables and meets an ungainly horse she learns is the offspring of the blind mare she loved so much as a child. This horse, Buffoon, links her to her real father who has been lost to her for so many years. Loving this horse is not a miraculous cure for all Tessa's many ills: far from it. In fact her passion for this horse inflames her hatred for her stepfather, which leads to an act of violence that lands her in a juvenile detention center for several years, a broken, lost soul. And Buffoon as well is broken and lost—even blind. Then, Peyton gives us many more pages in this marvelous story, which will keep her readers raptly involved in Tessa and Buffoon's fortunes. No one—maybe not even Dick Francis at his best—is able to write about horses and horse racing as well as K.M. Peyton. As Tessa becomes a professional jockey (the story ends when she is 20 years old), Peyton describes her riding to perfection: Tessa's emotions, her skill, her strategy. Peyton can get inside her horse characters as well, describing their experiences through their eyes. Informationabout the author tells us Peyton lives close to horses herself, and that she, in fact, knew a racehorse like Buffoon. She knew, as well, of a filly born without eyes (like the one Tessa loved so dearly as a young child), who, nevertheless was able to grow to adulthood and "bear valuable foals," horses such as Buffoon. The cover—a blurred photograph of a horse and rider going over a jump—is appealing and will entice all those who like animal stories, especially horse stories. KLIATT Codes: JS*—Exceptional book, recommended for junior and senior high school students. 1999, Penguin Putnam/Dutton, 360p, 00-060273, $17.99. Ages 13 to 18. Reviewer: Claire Rosser; May 2001 (Vol. 35 No. 3)
School Library Journal
Gr 6-10-The adults in Tessa's life have always let her down-her alcoholic father; her cold, unsympathetic stepfather; and her insecure mother. She acts out her resentment to these betrayals by getting thrown out of every school that she is sent to and eventually landing in jail after stabbing her stepfather. The only time she lets go of her anger is when she works at Sparrows Wyck, a farm that trains racehorses. One day, a lanky, singularly unattractive horse appropriately named Buffoon arrives for training. At first, the 12-year-old resents being responsible for an animal that is the barn joke but when she discovers his lineage, she realizes that his mother was a mare that her father had owned when she was a young child. Tessa had passionately loved the mare, Shiner, but when her parents divorced, she had never seen her again. Determined to hang on to Buffoon, she throws all of her energy into turning this "ugly duckling" horse around and manages to dramatically change her own life as well. Ultimately, together they win the Grand National in spite of Buffoon's failing eyesight. This modern day National Velvet is a hard-edged story with a heroine whose sullen and abrasive personality is somewhat wearing at the beginning of the story, but whose gritty determination to salvage what appears to be an equine disaster will rally readers to her side.-Carol Schene, Taunton Public Schools, MA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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Product Details

Bolinda Publishing
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
7.12(w) x 6.24(h) x 1.34(d)
Age Range:
11 - 15 Years

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