Author: Gigi Amateau
Published: Candlewick, 2010
Genre: Middle-Grade, Fantasy, Horse Narrative
Anybody who has read my blog in the past knows I love horses. I especially love stories about horses and my favorite novels are usually aimed at middle-grade readers. There is a time in lots of young girls' lives they fall in love with horses. Some will fall out of love in a short time and others will fall in love for life. Much to my parents' dismay, I never stopped loving horses. My mother felt guilty, she could not afford riding lessons so she gave me what she could: books. My childhood days were filled with book like The Saddle Club, Pony Pals, Heartland and novels by Marguerite Henry.
Sometimes, I still go to my local bookshop where I browse the "horse section" for middle-grade readers. This is where I found Chancey of the Maury River. This novel is on the same level of craft writing and plot as War Horse.
Chancey is an albino Appaloosa. He has lived his life with the indifference of his owner while working as a school horse. When his owner faces a financial crisis, he is forced to fend for himself and then abandoned. At Maury River Stables he meets the first human to love him unconditionally. Claire has suffered a great loss, but through her relationship with Chancey she begins to recover. As Chancy ages, Claire learns to share him with other riders in a therapeutic riding program. She and Chancy touch the hearts of other humans and animals as they grow together.
Amateau had done an outstanding job writing this from Chancey's point of view. Chancey's interpretation of the world is authentic and reliable (from a horse's POV). The plot of this novel is well done and both of the main characters grow with each new challenge. Amateau presents accurate knowledge of horsemanship in this novel and has colorfully written images that will stay in her readers' heads.
I heartily recommend this novel for all young equestrians and adults who enjoy horse stories. It will be a book I share with my own children someday.