Clare O'Beara's Reviews > The Island Horse

The Island Horse by Susan Hughes
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it was amazing
bookshelves: horse-fiction, america-historical, young-adult-historical

Ellie is not quite ten when her mother dies and she lives quietly in Nova Scotia with her father. In no position to turn down work, Ellie's father still thinks long and hard about accepting the first offer he gets in months. This offer means uprooting his daughter from their village and friends, her school and home. To encourage Ellie to regard it positively, he tells her that there are wild horses on Sable Island. Ellie is fascinated by the idea of wild horses and draws them in her sketchbook. The job is with the rescue crew on Sable Island, a crescent of sand 25 miles long and a mile across, which is known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic. A tiny community of rescue workers lives there, saving lives and salvaging ships' cargoes and timbers from the frequent wrecks on the shifting sands and storm-tossed sea.

Ellie does not want to leave, but there is no choice. They journey to Halifax and sail across to Sable Island, a regular stop for sealers who hunt seals for lamp oil. Ellie sees nothing but dunes, salt grass and sky. Walking among the dunes, Ellie sees a wild stallion with a small herd. He returns each day and she manages to befriend him to the point of giving him an apple. Then Ellie hears that a roundup of horses is about to take place. The best will be sold off to raise money for the lifesaving work.

This delightful tale by Susan Hughes evokes a hard life, the bravery and simplicity of the rescue station as well as the dangers faced by sailors. The spirited bay stallion, shaggy-coated and long-tailed with his natural caution tempered by curiosity, remains in the mind when the book has been closed.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
September 18, 2013 – Shelved
September 20, 2013 – Shelved as: horse-fiction
July 20, 2014 – Shelved as: america-historical
May 12, 2017 – Shelved as: young-adult-historical

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