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Taking the Reins
By author: Dayle Campbell Gaetz
Selling Points: "self-esteem, friendship, working together, horses "
Publisher: Coteau Books
Pub Date: Apr/01/2013
Pages: 240
Fiction Ages 9-14
Price:  $8.95
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A new life overseas! What could be better? Plenty of land to farm#&8212;and even gold to be found in the hills!

Well…except that Katherine's parents aren't farmers. Having spent everything on their transportation from England and setting up their homestead, they're struggling. Now Katherine has to sell her horse because keeping her is just too expensive.

For Emma, the promise of gold is nothing but bad luck. Her father left her and her mother back in England to join the gold rush. Now Emma's beloved mam has died, and Emma's been forced to come after him. Even worse, he thinks he's got the solution to cheer her up. He buys her a horse!

Katherine can hardly bear to give up her beloved Nugget to a girl who's clearly ungrateful for her good fortune and won't learn to ride. Emma, ashamed of a disability that means she can't ride sidesaddle, is desperate to avoid taking lessons from a stuck-up miss who obviously just wants her horse back. Can Nugget help them solve their problems together?

Set against the majestic landscape of the turn-of-the-century West, this is a story of ingenuity, courage, friendship—and the love of a horse.
Historical Novel Society - February 1, 2014
"The novel is light reading, but well crafted (Gaetz has experience as a literacy teacher and aims many of her teen novels at struggling readers). Although the protagonists are around fourteen, the content is suitable for middle grades...Will appeal to young horse lovers of all ages."
Resource Links - October 1, 2013
"Readers will enjoy seeing how these two very different young ladies overcome their differences."

Awards

CCBC Best Books, commended  CA  2013
Moonbeam Children's Book Award, winner  CA  2014
WILLA Award nominee, short-listed  US  2014
Paterson Prize Honor Book, commended  CA  2014



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