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  ginger gold

Five Book Rating

Ginger Gold by Frances Evlin
Whiskey Creek Press
Historical Romance, Young Adult
Full length, Sweet
Review by Snapdragon


How can twelve-year-old Dan Graham learn to accept a birthday present he didn’t want? Especially when that present is a skinny, sorrel mare named Ginger? The horseshoes Dan creates so she can do “special” jobs don’t always bring the desired results. Add to his problems being taunted by eighth-graders and befriending a Chinese boy whom no one else likes. Then he notices that his widower father is showing interest in the new school teacher. As if anyone could replace Dan’s mother! In 1900 Puget Sound country, Dan helps sandbag a flooding river, search for a lost child, and rescue snow-trapped cattle. But the scariest thing he’s ever done is ask Ginger to pull a cart across a frozen river, on a mercy mission to save a dying man. When the ice begins to crack, Dan learns the value of trust between him and Ginger Gold.

♥ ♥ ♥

Author Frances Evlin has created a wonderful, historical American tale sure to appeal to readers of all ages, although the book is offered as a young adult novel. You will appreciate this story not only for the content, with its loving empathy for the great equines, and not only for the essential goodness of the leading members of the plot – but for absolutely beautiful writing quality. Evlin’s style is straightforward and her lines offer perfect clarity. The dialogue is crisp, with just the occasional old time word or phrase to lend that air of the past.

This is written as a straightforward, personal account, and is very believable. The protagonist – Little Dan –  is motivated first by a need to show off for his buddies. However, his own natural sense of fair play and empathy for an animal soon outweigh his initial reluctance to claim the paddle-footed mare, Ginger Gold, as his own. It is easy to understand his emotions, and you will often feel that a decision of his is just what you would have done. Little Dan is also sensitive to his father’s lingering unhappiness… yet he cannot put aside his grief for his mother enough to see how much his father’s potential romance might make them both less sad. Other serious themes are considered within the tale like racism and other prejudices. Small details of the history involved (the west, 1900) enrich the quality of the action.

None of these more meaningful qualities serve to slow the story, though. It is one adventure after the next for Little Dan and his surprising mare, and young readers- especially horse lovers – will find a great deal of enjoyment here. The storyline is unpredictable and intriguing.

This reviewer would like to thank author Frances Evlin for bringing back to me the stories of old -- the Dorothy Lyons, the Marguerite Henry’s, whose place I’ve long thought gone from this world. This is a young reader’s book that adults will enjoy – and I will enjoy, over and over again.

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