I love books by Mary Casanova, so I was thrilled when my friends at University of Minnesota Press sent me a few of her books to review.
In STEALING THUNDER, young Libby loves the horses at the stable next door. She’d like one for her own, but her parents can’t afford it. One day her friend and riding teacher, Jolene, is not there, and the owner tells Libby not to come back. Libby discovers that he is cruel and heartless with the horses and other animals and she fears for the safety of her beloved horses, especially Thunder. Libby decides to save Thunder by stealing her, but can this possibly lead to a happy solution?
Mary Casanova is a wonderful writer and her books should be in all classroom libraries. They often take place in Minnesota and always portray realistic and strong protagonists.
I always enjoy browsing through my Kindle for good, cheap reads. This book was listed in the top sellers, but cost only 99 cents, so I figured it was a good deal.
“The Mill River Recluse” tells the story of beautiful Mary McAllister, an elderly woman who has not left her house high on a hill in Mill River, Vermont for over sixty years. Alternate chapters tell the story of Mary in the present (she actually passes away near the beginning of the book) and Mary in the 1940’s, when she, the only child of a horse farmer, meets and marries her charming and rich, but secretively abusive, husband. Mary, always shy by nature, has suffered a horrific abuse at the hands of her high school teacher, and she puts her faith in her new husband, though he turns mean and evil, damaging Mary irreparably. Her only friend and confidant is the town’s Catholic priest, and he stays as her anchor to the outside world until her death.
I enjoyed reading this novel, especially the years that were in the past. The ending had a bit of a twist to it and was happy and uplifting, though a bit far-fetched. I guess the question that remained for me throughout this book was: “Hello, People?! Can someone do SOMETHING for that poor abused woman who has not left her house in 60 years???”
All in all, this was a good “beach read” for me – an end of summer, positive, not-too-mentally-taxing tale that kept me coming back to see how it would end. I would have loved this book when I was in high school.