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Posted August 26, 2010
Katherine Normith, or Kat to her friends, is one very determined fourteen-year-old. She knows what she wants, and even if the adults around her tell her it's impossible, young Kat will find a way to make it happen. That's just what she did to save a beloved horse, Stormwind.
Kat had been taking riding lessons at a farm down the road from her house for several years. She hated the farm, and the farm's owner, Lorraine Stillwater, a cruel woman who abuses her horses. But if Kat didn't come and take care of the horses (mucks stalls, brush the horses, etc.), who would? There are several neglected horses on the property, including Kat's favorite, a pretty Arabian mare named Stormwind that only she can ride.
As the story opens, Kat is headed to Stillwater's place to buy Stormwind. But the spiteful woman refuses to sell the mare, instead telling Kat that Stormwind is headed to the slaughterhouse. In desperation, Kat sneaks out at night and steals the horse.
When Kat's father, Luke, finds out what his daughter has done, he's quite upset. To make matters worse, he never gave Kat permission to buy the horse. When she had asked, he was deep in thought concentrating on his new long distance girlfriend and had mumbled a reply without realizing what his daughter was asking. Kat is forced to return Stormwind to Stillwater's farm.
In a startling turn of events, Kat soon finds herself the owner of her beloved horse. Life should be good but then Luke's new girlfriend, Lavina, arrives. A city woman who is very out of place in the country, Lavina has ulterior motives, which Kat soon discovers. She tries to talk to her father, but Luke is too in love to listen to his daughter. In protest, Kat runs away, taking Stormwind and her dog Hesperus for protection.
Kat heads into the deep woods of the Adirondack Mountains. Along with many thrilling, and frightening adventures, she meets a mysterious boy, Randy. Realizing they truly need each other to survive what nature, and man, throws at them, they soon become friends.
Stormwind of the North Country is an endearing story about a teen who is struggling to find herself and her place in the world. There is plenty of horse action in the first half of the story but it slowly takes a back seat to the relationship between Kat and Randy, as well as Kat, her dad, and Lavina. If you're looking for a book that is all "horse," this may not be the right book. But if you want a story where the protagonist is a very strong, self-assured female, take a look at this tale. Teens will likely relate to Kat and the story should draw them in to learn how Kat solves her problems.
The author has obviously spent time in the beautiful Adirondack's as her descriptions of the scenery are spot on. You can hear the birds chirping and bugs buzzing in the background as Kat and Randy walk through a meadow. I did find some of the events strained believability (Stillwater reads a book while her stallion struggles to free himself from barbed wire, Kat takes Stormwind for a 4 hour trail ride shortly after the mare foals). There are also some scenes that might be tough for more sensitive readers, such as the death of a horse, and the revelation of the pain that Randy has endured. However, I suspect most teens won't mind. They'll be hoping Kat saves the horses, saves the farm, and helps Randy return to a "normal" life.
Quill says: A girl, a beautiful horse, and a journey in the woods, will draw many teens to this adventure.