by Grace Marshall
Manure, southern accents, self-absorbed boys, and new faces are all a part of the maze that have become Ruth Deloach’s life.
Her world is sent spinning when she finds out she is going to be ripped from America’s Dairyland to live in the embarrassingly small tourist town of Sainte Genevieve, Missouri. The blow is slightly lessened by the news that her father wants to start a horse ranch, but how enjoyable will it really be to live where there is no pizza delivery and a revolving door to the public? A public with a different idea of how things are done and said. To add embarrassment to her frustration she finds she knows less about horses than she presumed. Maybe the handsome ranch hand her father hires can brighten things up, then again, maybe not.
When Ruth Deloach's father announces he's selling the house and moving to a ranch in southern Missouri, she's sure her world is coming to an end. While the move will give her life on a ranch with horses to ride, she will be losing all of her friends from Wisconsin, and the life she's built in the North.
Out in the backwoods of Missouri, Ruth learns some important lessons about friendship, trust, and life on a ranch, which can be messy, hard, and rewarding, as long as you can get past the fact that there's... no pizza delivery.
G - Almost none. There's one reference to drugs and alcohol in passing, about public school.
G - None at all, there's just a tad of shouting, and one scene where a turkey gets brutally taken down.
G - there is not any cussing that I recall in the book.
PG - There's some slight wistful longings, pursuit, and such between the 14 year old Ruth and a new handsome ranch hand. That situation could have gone a different and dangerous direction.
The family are quiet but solid Christians. They pray before meals, and one of their priorities in finding a new home, is finding a new home church. There is a sermon at that church that has impact and life application for Ruth. Their Christian character is mentioned at least once by an outside observer.
The conflict level in this book is pretty low - the main villain in the story starts out being the move itself, and how it will impact Ruth and her friend circle. As I'm all about action, I found the pacing a bit slow for my liking, though there were some definite high points.
The Christian elements in the story were undercurrents but strong. I gained some insight into the mind of a teen daughter, which would have been helpful to know back when my girls were younger. The characters and backdrop were well-depicted and realistic. As this is the first in an apparently lighthearted series, the conflict level was probably appropriate, and the novel found good resolution while opening up plenty of room for the series to launch. Five Stars!
About the Author:Christian Young Adult and New Adult Books That Provoke Thought! Grace Marshall is the author of the “Horse Haven” series as well as "Person of Faith"; she has also contributed several articles to newspapers. She enjoys hanging out with her dashing husband, J. Lindsey Marshall, their saucy cat, Amerigo Vespucci, and their playful Mastiff puppy, Mini. Grace loves all animals but especially horses. She has lived in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Tennessee, and currently resides in the Missouri hills. She believes in living life to the fullest and can’t wait to see where God will take her or have her write next!