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From The CriticsKathleen Duey says, "Girls throughout history have grown up trusting horses with their friendship, their secrets, and even their lives. The Hoofbeats books are about that trust." Thus, her theme is tried and true, but she has staked out interesting new territory: 17th century Ireland. Nine-year-old Lara is almost old enough to marry in her rural, patriarchal society, but she works like a man, doing chores from making butter and cheese to spreading manure on the fields. The men are gone fighting in constant wars. Lara's life is work, some play, and love for a horse in a society where horses are reserved for warriors. Life is precarious, food is scanty, raiders are a constant threat, and girls are not supposed to have fun. This first book ends at a beginning, with Lara's capture by a raiding party along with the abduction of the foal she saved from death. Lara's voice is engaging and sympathetic if more mature than today's nine-year-old girl. 2005, Puffin Books, 140 pp., (paperback). Ages young adult.
—Myrna Dee Marler