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Mending Horses

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  51 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
Daniel Linnehan is an indentured servant no more. He has his papers, his beloved horse, Ivy, and a new direction in life. But an Irish teenager, wearing fine clothes and riding an even finer horse, is asking for trouble.

After a terrible misunderstanding leaves Daniel beaten, the peddler Jonathan Stocking takes Daniel under his wing. But Billy, another Irish youngster trav
Hardcover, 309 pages
Published March 1st 2014 by Holiday House (first published January 1st 2014)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Stephanie A.
A long book with relatively small text, this is a densely packed and thoroughly rich depiction of 1839 America, with plenty of horses tossed into the mix. Though it takes half the book to really get to the title process, horses Ivy and Phizzy take central roles early on as Daniel and Billy, respectively, are closer to them than any people.

The first third establishes the setting of small towns and rural areas while the two of them try to get along under the care of a traveling merchant, Mr. S. T
Terry Gibson
May 23, 2014 Terry Gibson rated it it was amazing
Mending Horses by M P Barker

Read 21.05.2014

This book is an absolute delight. Set in 1839 pre-civil war America, it is an enchanting story of two people, a teenage boy and girl and their mutual love for horses; I couldn’t put it down. A story of good people; even the villains are ordinary people with weaknesses, who deserved our sympathy, rather than wroth. It is aimed at teenage and young adult readers, but I don’t mind admitting it enthralled me. It is a sensitive story of growing up in a young
Morgan Lee
Apr 19, 2014 Morgan Lee rated it really liked it
Read this review and many others on my blog For Such Love We Feel.

I received this book free from NetGalley and Holiday House as an advanced reader copy.

Mending Horses by M. P. Barker is the companion novel to A Difficult Boy. You do not need to have read A Difficult Boy to read and enjoy Mending Horses.

I love horses, which is what originally drew me to Mending Horses; little did I know there was so much more to this story than just a boy loving his horse. In this day and age girls can do whateve
Feb 24, 2014 Lucinda rated it really liked it
Mending horses and healing hearts

“The stranger talked softly to the horse as he worked, grooming her with sure, rhythmic strokes…he did have a way with a horse.”

This heartrending and profoundly poignant, exquisite historical novel speaks to the soul and searches for that depth of sincerity within us all. ‘Mending Horses’ follows on from book1: A difficult boy, in which one encounters the main characters of Irish Lad Daniel and the travelling peddler Jonathan who share an unlikely bond.
Apr 13, 2014 Kate rated it really liked it
In early nineteenth-century Massachusetts, being an Irish immigrant was not always easy. Daniel is proof of this - despite the fact that he's no longer an indentured servant and has won his freedom along with a beautiful horse, he's mistaken for an escaped servant and badly beaten. Peddler Jonathan Stocking rescues him, however, and makes Daniel part of his band of misfits. Daniel's always been great with animals, which makes him a natural fit as the horseman of the group. But how can he make fr ...more
Sarah-Jayne Briggs
Mar 04, 2014 Sarah-Jayne Briggs rated it it was amazing
(I received this book for free as part of Goodreads First Reads giveaways).

(This review may contain spoilers).

This was another book that I was expecting to finish the day after I started reading it, but it pulled me in so completely that I had a lot of trouble putting it down.

I really found it easy to engage with the characters in this book. I can't say from the very first scene, but certainly from the first scene from Daniel's perspective, I was pulled in.

It was really easy to relate to the cha
Feb 14, 2015 Rebecca rated it really liked it
In 1839 New England, newly freed indentured servant Daniel (16) and his horse have a harrowing experience when someone thinks Daniel stole the horse and his new clothes, and he ends up with a mob accusing him of murder. Rescued by traveling peddler Jonathan, Daniel travels with him and his other rescuee, twelve-year-old Billy. Billy, although Irish like Daniel, resents Daniel's presence, even more so when Daniel discovers Billy's deep, dark secret. Things take a turn for the better, though, when ...more
Aug 22, 2014 Jane rated it it was amazing
This is a story of adventure, home problems, growing in midst of hatred because you are different, and love. I was surprised as I thought I was going to give this book to my teenage granddaughter. But I loved it.
The Irish when they came to America were not treated right by others. They were accused of things without many caring if it was true or not.
Mr. Stocking rescued both Nuala (Billy) and Daniel and took them under his wing. Both had different circumstances. Nuala's father was abusing her. S
Teresa Bateman
Apr 11, 2015 Teresa Bateman rated it it was amazing
I'll admit I haven't read "A Difficult Boy" to which this book is a sequel, but you don't have to have read the first book to enjoy this one. Daniel Linnehan has escaped indentured servitude and is a free man. However, a misunderstanding nearly gets him killed. He ends up with a peddler, a traveling show, and a girl who calls her self Billy and pretends to be a boy to escape her own rough past. In mending the show's horses, who have been treated poorly, Daniel also finds himself trying to mend o ...more
Mar 15, 2014 Erin rated it liked it
Find this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....

The sequel to Barker’s 2008 release, A Difficult Boy, Mending Horses reunites readers with Daniel Linnehan. Freed from indentured service Daniel attempts to make his way in the world and soon finds himself making unlikely alliances among the performers in a travelling circus where he works with a team of skittish prancing ponies.

I personally feel my experience with this book was undermined by my having skipped its predecess
Mar 04, 2014 Christina rated it liked it
The book is well written for a period novel, and Barker does a terrific job of writing with accents and dialects.

Perhaps I'm out of touch with young adult books now, but I felt that some of the emotions were very over the top, especially when depicting the characters as shy, nervous, or scared. And those three emotions happened a lot, even for awkward adolescents.

The story itself plods a bit at times as descriptions take too long. I'm used to young adult books lingering less on minute details.

Feb 13, 2014 Gaile rated it it was amazing
This is a children's book that takes place in 1839. It isn't exactly the American frontier but I figure it is close enough. It doesn't really read like a children's book but the story is quite well written. An indentured servant who is now free and a battered boy take up with a traveling peddler who ends in a circus. One boy has a gift for managing horse. The other has a beautiful voice.
There are many surprises in this novel and I don't want to spoil them. Life has really been rough for these ki
Sparkie Allison
Feb 28, 2014 Sparkie Allison rated it it was amazing
After reading "A Difficult Boy" I knew that I had to read "Mending Horses". MP Barker really has a grasp of the period, the language, the cultures. I was glued to the story and wondered how Billy would fare in the end. By the time I hit the last 100 pages I stayed up late to find out what happens to each if them. Indentured servants, the Irish immigrants, the drinking, the off stage circus environment, the rustic era- MP Barker nails it with another well told story bringing us through southern N ...more
Feb 18, 2015 Ann rated it really liked it
Although one doesn't need to have read A DIFFICULT BOY, the first book about Daniel Linnehan, having read it makes this book even more meaningful as the young Irish immigrant begins life after indentured servitude. It's 1839 New England, and Daniel faces many obstacles in his new freedom, including continued prejudice against his Irish heritage. Daniel's skill with horses, a peddler willing to mentor and support him, and a young girl masquerading as a boy to save her own life give Daniel the con ...more
Apr 12, 2015 Marcia rated it it was amazing
Mending Horses is a wonderful old-time adventure filled with believable characters and historical details that bring the story to life. Like many upper middle grade novels, this well-researched story makes me wish there was a tween section in my library. I did change the call number to YA after I finished reading, due to some of the language and subject matter. Mending Horses is the sequel to A Difficult Boy, although it works fine as a stand-alone, too. Recommended for fans of historical fictio ...more
Mona Harrison
Feb 28, 2014 Mona Harrison rated it really liked it
This beautifully crafted historical novel shouldn't be restricted to young adults. It would appeal to anyone with a curiosity about our world in the early 1800's. Written in a classic style, M.P. Barker's book skillfully imparts her knowledge, page after page. I regret that I was unaware of its prequel, "A Difficult Boy", prior to reading "Mending Horses". I consider myself fortunate to have received this book as a first reads gift.
D Dina Friedman
Feb 17, 2016 D Dina Friedman rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016, mg-ya
M.P. Barker is a master at historical detail and does a great job painting a picture of life in Massachusetts in the 1830s. I particularly liked the way she talked about the experience of Irish immigrants.
Katrina Mundt
May 25, 2015 Katrina Mundt rated it liked it
May 08, 2015 Ann marked it as to-read
Top Ten Historical Fiction for Youth 2015 (Booklist)
Apr 07, 2014 Katarina rated it did not like it
DNF after 3 chapters. Unfortunately I have a huge backlog of books to review, so if my current book doesn't hold my attention after the first few chapters I will DNF it.
May 24, 2014 Martha rated it really liked it
The historical setting is brought to life by these characters' hearts.
Joyce rated it really liked it
Feb 05, 2014
Ms. Simeon
Ms. Simeon rated it liked it
Jan 22, 2015
Mona Bradley
Mona Bradley rated it really liked it
Mar 03, 2014
Rebecca rated it really liked it
Oct 02, 2014
Clayton Cheever
Clayton Cheever rated it it was ok
Sep 03, 2015
Christy Timbrook
Christy Timbrook rated it really liked it
Jan 24, 2015
Stacey rated it liked it
Jul 07, 2014
Kristin rated it it was ok
Dec 11, 2015
Dr. Barb
Dr. Barb rated it really liked it
Mar 23, 2015
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M. P. Barker is a time traveler—well, actually an archivist and historical consultant, which amounts to the same thing. She got a firsthand taste (sometimes literally!) of nineteenth-century New England rural life when she was a costumed historical interpreter at Old Sturbridge Village. There she milked cows, mucked out barns, and found inspiration for her historical novels, A Difficult Boy and Me ...more
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