'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Thursday 8 October 2020

Review: The Pony Question

Essie was living every young girl’s dream – she owned a horse, Chet who she loved, would enter dressage competitions on weekends and had won several trophies. 

Then in one fleeting moment everything in Essie’s life changes and not for the better.

Her Dad, Stephen divorces her Mum for a new wife, Cardboard Caroline, he announces they are moving to another country, Germany and in the process destroys her love of horses – leaving, deserting, abandoning.

It seems her Dad is the complete opposite to her Mum, Francesca and Essie. Their days are spent visiting op shops, estate sales and making ends meet. 

All the while creating their own special fun with a three-word game that aptly describes any situation they encounter in their new life.

Whereas her Dad wants to buy everything that is shiny and new, including sending Essie off to an expensive equestrian boarding school and buying her a better horse than Chet. He doesn’t understand than Essie simply liked competing, it was always her Dad who wanted to win at all costs.

The last time she rode, her horse Chet pulled up with an injury, although disappointed about not competing, Essie was ok about it. However, Chet recovered enough for her to ride and they were best on field until a random drug test found the painkillers her Dad had injected into her horse.

Crucified in social media for being a drug cheat and banned for 12 months, Essie hits rock bottom when she is diagnosed with glandular fever.  Her days are now spent being home-schooled, sleeping or being dragged off to estate sales while her Mum explores old furniture pieces she can restore and sell. It is at one of these grand adventures that her Mum accidently bids on a malnourished, traumatised horse. This grand adventure has certainly turned into a folly, lunacy, gamble.

But this horse could just be what Essie needs as her love of horses is reignited. Can Essie coax Moxie the horse back to life? Will Essie and her Dad repair their relationship? Can Essie rediscover her love of riding?

Author Jackie Merchant has written a truly heart-warming novel that will hook readers from the beginning. Her characters are from all walks of life and each of them bring compassion, depth and highlight the challenges of adversity. The three-word game is one of the many things the reader can take away from this story – love, laughter, hope.

Title: The Pony Question
Author: Jackie Merchant
Publisher: Walker Books Australia, $16.99
Publication Date: 1 July 2020
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781760651640
For ages: 8 - 13
Type: Junior Fiction