`Abby Malone has a favourite dream in which she pictures herself on a beautiful little mare, winning the local Caledon steeplechase competition and being congratulated by her idol. In reality though, Abby's life couldn't be worse. Her father is imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit, her family is out of money, and her mother has taken to drink. But Abby is not alone; with the caring attention of her elderly neighbours and her faithful pet coyote, she bravely faces life. Abby doggedly overcomes all obstacles, not only achieving her dream but reversing the family fortunes as well ...
`As in her first novel, Dancer (1996), Shelley Peterson tells a horse story and skilfully mixes elements of mystery, suspense, romance and family drama to create an exciting read. Although there is no doubt that there will be a happy ending, it is fun to find out how Abby will manage it. Young-adult readers will relate to Abby's passion as well as to her frustration with authority and the injustice that she experiences.
`... Abby Malone is written in the style of classic children's stories, with ... old-fashioned charm [that] is both endearing and enduring. This well-produced book is a ``must-have'' for all school and library collections. Highly recommended.'
(Canadian Book Review Annual
`Abby Malone is a very likeable main character in very challenging circumstances, but occasionally displays human weaknesses that make her more believable. She lives in a world of both peers and adults all too willing to put her down. She is so likeable that naturally she does have at least one good friend her own age and attracts the protection of some kindly older adults. Not only are horses key characters, but so also is a coyote and to a lesser degree other animals.'
`Obviously an animal-lover, Peterson writes with warmth and understanding of animals and their emotions and of those who are able to respond to them. In doing so, she has designed a compelling and suspenseful story that is difficult to set aside once it is begun. And in her title character, Abby Malone, Peterson has fashioned a bewitching young girl whose intelligence and resilience do justice to this tautly woven tale. ...
`Sprightly Abby Malone has a charm reminiscent of L.M. Montgomery's young girls, of such intrepid problem-solvers as Jane of Lantern Hill and Sara Stanley of The Story Girl and The Golden Road. She combines an adventurous spirit with sensitivity, common sense and a good degree of feisty courage. Abby is a memorable character, well drawn by Peterson, whose knowledge of young people and animals is noteworthy.'
(London Free Press
`...This is a story that will inspire any reader, young or not, and would make a great gift or prize.'
(Horse Action International
`Former Londoner Shelley Peterson is a writer of exceptional talent.'
(London Free Press
About the Author
Shelley Peterson was born in London, Ontario. She appeared there in her first theatrical production, Pinocchio, at the Grand Theatre at the age of ten. Her professional acting career began at the age of nineteen with a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Neptune Theatre in Halifax. Since then she has played over a hundred roles on television, in film and on the stage.
Shelley Peterson was educated at the Banff School of Fine Arts, at Dalhousie and at the University of Western Ontario. She has had a lifelong love for animals, big and small, and horses in particular. Her trilogy of books about girls and their love affairs and adventures with horses has been enjoyed and praised.