Monday, April 27, 2015

Thick as Thieves by Susan K. Marlow

About this young adult novel:
Fourteen-year-old Andrea Carter would rather ride her beloved palomino, Taffy, than do anything else. But life on the Circle C ranch in 1882 is busy. Between school and chores, Andi is left with little time to prepare Taffy's first foaling. Then when the event finally arrives, it nearly ends in disaster.

Returning to school keeps Andi hard-pressed to find time for foal training. And she now has a new problem on her hands – Macy Walker, who has been assigned as Andi's seatmate. The new girl's crude manners and cruel behavior bring storm clouds into Andi's life, as does the news that cattle rustlers have moved into the valley.

When the cattle rustlers turn to stealing horses and strike the Carter ranch, Andi's only hope for recovering her precious colts lies with Macy. Can Andi trust this wild girl? Does she have a choice?

My review:
This is a delightful novel for young teen girls. Andi loves her horse so this would make a great novel for young horse lovers. It also gives young readers insight into ranching life in the late 1800s. Even girls had chores before they went to school. There are many lessons in this book about family, trust, caring for others, and handling tough situations.

I loved the character of Andi. She struggled with going to school, especially when there are new colts to love and train. And when she gets to school, she has to deal with a crude girl assigned to sit next to her. I was glad to see Andi responded to the Holy Spirit when dealing with the obnoxious girl. There is a definite encouragement in the novel to deal kindly with those who have a difficult home life, or almost none at all.

There are other great characters too. Macy is a tough and obnoxious girl on the outside, a result of her tough home life. On the inside, well, you just have to read the book. Macy's brothers are the gruffest and meanest ones a girl could have. In stark opposition are Andi's brothers, tough but loving. The contrast in characters was a lesson in itself about the difference between a Christian home and one that is not.

The story was exciting and held my interest all the way through – and that from a senior citizen. This is the only one of the Circle C novels I have read, but one wouldn't need to read the earlier ones to thoroughly enjoy this one. It is a great story, complete in itself.

I highly recommend this novel to 12-14 years olds. There is so much action in the book, I think boys would like it too. It is encouraging to know that there are great series for young readers like I enjoyed at that age.

You can find out more about the entire Circle C series here and follow Andi's blog here.

Susan K. Marlow started writing when she was ten years old. She writes, teaches workshops, and shares what she's learned as a homeschooling mom. She enjoys relaxing on her fourteen-acre homestead in Washington state. Find out more at http://www.susankmarlow.com/.

Kregel Publications, 176 pages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
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