Horses, perhaps more so than any other creature, were made by man. They might be naturally spooky, or fearful, or bolshie, but their reactions to their world were shaped entirely by what was done to them. A child would give you a second chance because it hoped to be loved. A dog would return to you slavishly, even after you’d beaten it. A horse would never let you—or anyone else—near him again.
I was a horse-crazy kid who grew up to be a horse-crazy young adult. I owned my own horse, Snickers, for a good decade and spent PLENTY of time in barns—some of them more reputable than others. And while I haven’t been part of that life in a LONG while, horsey people recognize horsey authors. There’s something that rings true in the writing. So when I saw that Jojo Moyes had written a horsey book, I was hoping to be pleased— since I do enjoy her writing—but ready to be disappointed.
I was NOT disappointed.
The Horse Dancer is full of “feels” in Jojo Moyes’ typical style of writing. I enjoyed the 14-year-old protagonist, Sarah. Natasha and Mac, Sarah’s unprepared, temporary guardians were well-rounded characters with their own fleshed-out story arcs. Even the minor characters, like Cowboy John, felt like REAL, fleshed out people. (Seriously, EVERY barn seems to have a “Cowboy John-like” person floating around somewhere.)
This book brought me back to my own childhood, to my love of horses. But…it was also nice to see what was happening from Natasha and Mac’s perspective, two adults with a lot more experience…but still a little clueless about the things that matter. All around, this was a FANTASTIC book. I don’t feel as though you HAVE to love horses—or The Cadre Noir of Saumur—to appreciate this story. (Although I’m sure it helps!) This book had a satisfying conclusion.
Thank you Jojo Moyes!