A Horse For Angel by Sarah Lean

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A Horse For Angel by Sarah Lean

Buy A Horse For Angel by Sarah Lean at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Anne Thompson
Reviewed by Anne Thompson
Summary: A tender story about an unlikely friendship between two young girls, this book demonstrates how love and trust between friends and families can help overcome difficulties in a most unlikely way.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 240 Date: January 2013
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9780007455058

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Eleven year old Nell feels as though her life is a list of pointless activities that she didn't choose and that she doesn't enjoy; the drama club, the maths tutor, the swimming lessons and the endless waiting for her busy, single mum between them all. Nell is looking forward to spending two restful weeks with her Grandma over the Easter holiday but at the last minute she discovers that she is to stay with relations that she doesn't know. Nell has a secret and when she travels to her Aunt's home she takes a suitcase containing her secret with her and on the first day of her stay she has a chance encounter with a local girl, Angel, who has secrets of her own. Despite the initial hostility between the two girls they gradually realise that they must learn to trust each other if they are to care for the things they love.

At first Nell, who has not been allowed freedom and is consequently a cautious and law abiding girl, is wary of the different lifestyle of her aunt and two younger cousins but gradually she relaxes and starts to enjoy the new experiences of country life. When she visits her Aunt’s neighbour, Rita, who has been recently widowed, Nell meets the mysterious and troubled Angel again and finds herself drawn to her. Angel has a bad reputation locally and her hostile manner does little to encourage Nell to make friends but gradually as the two girls unite to try and save one hundred horses that are about to be sold at auction they discover that they may have more in common than they thought. Initially I thought it unlikely that a girl such as Nell would have persevered with someone as prickly and unpleasant as Angel but as the story progresses the way in which the two of them gradually help each other to open up and reveal their unhappiness was sympathetically and realistically described.

The quiet, unassuming way that Aunt Liv gradually builds up Nell’s confidence is lovely and the description of the little cousins’ behaviour towards Nell, particularly Gem, is endearing. Sarah Lean has a knack of writing about emotions in a simple yet moving way and manages to weave in a touch of magic too. The book is visually appealing for children with a clear type and charming illustrations by Gary Blythe. Although this novel deals with difficult subjects such as bereavement, absent fathers and damaged children it does so in a gentle way. This does not feel like a soap drama and may appeal to fans of Michael Morpurgo’s books on similar themes. It was only after I had finished the story that I became aware of the absence of male characters, the only one of any note being the recently deceased Mr. Hemsworth. Whether this was by accident or design it does increase the likelihood that this book will be enjoyed more by girls than boys. Despite the title though this is a story not only for horse lovers and I think it would be a delightful addition to the bookcase or school library.

The author's first novel A Dog Called Homeless is another charming story of how an animal can help cure a child's unhappiness.

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Buy A Horse For Angel by Sarah Lean at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy A Horse For Angel by Sarah Lean at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy A Horse For Angel by Sarah Lean at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy A Horse For Angel by Sarah Lean at Amazon.com.


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