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Children's LiteratureHelena, daughter of the magistrate, is no stranger to secret plans. She has been taking her father's powerful horses for rides for months without a sidesaddle, despite her parent's wishes. When she stumbles across smugglers during a late-night ride, Helena's eyes are opened to an underground world she never knew existed. Her best friend, Jamie the stableboy, is involved with the smugglers and cautions Helena that she must never tell what she knows about the operation. After realizing that the smugglers are not evil men, but ordinary people trying to make a living, Helena is determined that they remain undiscovered. This larger conflict is paralleled by Helena's efforts to convince her parents that the spirited new horse is a good animal in need of some training. This combination of horse story, historical novel, and mystery works very well. Helena is rather spirited and independent for an upper-class girl of the eighteenth century, but her interactions with other people does not stray too far into the realm of historical inaccuracy. 2004, HarperCollins, and Ages 10 up.
—Amie Rose Rotruck