The Girl Who Remembered Horses by Linda Benson is a must read YA novel.
Sahara held the book cautiously, unsure what to do next. The woman, Evan’s aunt, seemed to sense her discomfort.
“Go and sit,” she croaked, motioning to the chair. “More comfortable.”
As if holding valuable treasure, Sahara settled herself in the chair. The book was so old it was falling apart. As she opened the cover, the first page crumpled into a heap of small pieces. She glanced up in horror.
“Careful,” Evan said.
Sahara nodded, then willed herself to caution. She turned each page slowly, with great care. Many were filled with words. Sahara glanced at these but kept going. Soon she came to drawings and pictures. She saw a horse standing perfectly still, while a man adjusted equipment on its back. A large leather seat, with a blanket underneath, rested on the horse’s back, held down by straps under the creature’s belly. Several pages later, the pictures showed a man astride a horse, just like in her dreams. The horse and rider were making turns to the left, turns to the right, even backing up.
Could a horse be trained? Was it possible? But they were wild creatures – faster than the fleeing deer, impossible to catch, gone at the first sight of humans. Even in her dreams, they trembled at her touch.
Sahara looked towards the back of the book. A horse again, this time hooked to a large cart with straps and harness, similar to what she used on Banner and Blitz. Could horses be used to pull their recycled goods? Surely they could pull more weight than the dogs. Sahara had a hard time concentrating on just one picture. She wanted to study all of them, understand, learn. Had people from the past, before the Dark Days, before the famine and sickness, actually done these things with horses? Were her dreams real, not something she had invented in her head? Were they memories? And why would these dreams come to her, Sahara, a girl from the Trader’s Clan?
Sahara was so absorbed in the pictures and images that she scarcely noticed Evan, who had crept closer to look over her shoulder. Now, sensing his presence, she stole a glance backward.
He looked serious, puzzled. “You have dreamed these things?” he asked, pointing to the pages in the book.
“No, not exactly. Not how to do these things. I only dreamed of being on a horse’s back. How it felt when it was running.” She closed her eyes, remembering. “The wind in my face, the feeling of floating, going so fast it felt like flying.”
“Like a memory?”
“How could it be a memory?” She shook her head in disbelief. “If it’s true that people did ride horses in the past, how could I have these memories?”
The old woman, Evan’s aunt, had been silent throughout this whole conversation. Now she stood, her fragile body clinging to the warmth of the fire. “Perhaps the memory has been in you always. Perhaps you were born with it. Perhaps it shows up now for a reason.”
Her answer, if any, was lost to the commotion below. Shouts and hurried commands echoed through the night. The sound of dogs pursuing a quarry raised an eerie prickle on the back of Sahara’s neck. Carefully setting the book down, she rushed to the door of the small dwelling, where Evan peered into the darkness.
“What is it?”
“It sounds like Dojo, and it looks like a group of hunters.”
Sahara pushed past him, trying to see. She heard the frantic voices of dogs, and saw torch lights moving quickly down the valley.
“They have gathered the chase hounds for a hunt,” said Evan. “He has been boasting all over camp about going after the horses.”
“No!” cried Sahara, her heart racing. “We have to stop them.”
Evan shook his head. “I tried to tell him . . .”
But Sahara was not listening. Pictures from the book still swam in her head.
Now she knew her dreams were not fantasies – things she had imagined. Humans had ridden horses. Humans had trained horses. There was a book to prove it. They must not hunt them. They must not kill them. She had to stop Dojo. Without thinking of a plan, she pried the creaky door all the way open and rushed down the steep hillside into the night.
About the Author:
Linda Benson’s passion for horses has influenced most of her choices in life. She has ridden literally hundreds of miles horseback, competed in equine events ranging from barrel racing to jumping, team penning to endurance riding, sold and marked horses for a living, and owned a successful saddle and tack shop.
In addition, she has been a veterinary assistant, a realtor, a children’s librarian, a zoo keeper, a race track groom, and owned a native plant nursery.
She is the author of “Six Degrees of Lost, also from Musa Publishing, as well as two middle grade books, “The Horse Jar”(which has been translated into Spanish) and ”Finding Chance.”
Her nest novel, called “Walking the Dog,” will be available September 2012.
Ms. Benson currently lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, and a varying menagerie of animals. And she writes.
Title: The Girl Who Remembered Horses
Author: Linda Benson
Publisher: Musa Publishing
As a child of the 1950s I have grown up with prophecies of doom and gloom. What would end our world as we know it? Today, the big concern isn’t an all out war between super powers, but terrorists with WMDs, global warming, increasing super storms, and seismic disturbances. What would a post-apocalyptic world look like?
Author Linda Benson has delved into such a world in her beautifully written story of “The Girl Who Remembered Horses.” Follow along with young Sahara as she travels with her nomadic clan to search for old treasures. The recyclables they excavate give the clan goods to trade for food when they travel from the barren desert in witch they hunt to the home of the Gardner Clan.
At the Gardner’s Camp, our spunky little heroine is given an old book about the beautiful animals that fill her dreams. There Sahara’s adventures begin, as she sees, for the first time, the horses in the book and in her dreams thunder across the landscape. She battles to save these beautiful creatures from the hunters in her clan.
Sarah finds a newborn foal hiding in the rocks near its fallen mother. She rescues the foal, and hopes her inborn knowledge will be sufficient to keep the helpless baby horse alive.
This is a quick moving adventure of a young girl seeking to find her place in a male dominated society. Horse lovers will love this book, but it is an excellent read for the YA and above audience. I highly recommend “The Girl Who Remembered Horses.”
Put this one on your Christmas wish list.
This tale rates five stars on my review meter. I couldn’t put this one down! Well done Linda.
Jackie Anton…….Author of the award winning “Backyard Horse Tales” series.