Book Review: The Island Horse

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The publisher provided me with a copy of this book to review via NetGalley.

The Island Horse is a great story for horse lovers young and old alike. For those who grew up reading such books as the Misty series by Marguerite Henry or Black Stallion by Walter Farley this book will be a good read to reminisce. It is also good for young readers who love horses and it also provides a look back in history as the book is set on Sable Island in the early 19th century.

The story follows ten year old Ellie and her father as they make the journey from Nova Scotia to Sable Island so her father can have a job. Ellie dislikes the idea at first because she doesn’t want to leave her home, her friends but more importantly her mothers grave. Even the allure of seeing wild horses on the island doesn’t help. And so with little choice she moves to the far away island believing she will never be happy again.

Viewing Sable Island during the 1800’s in this novel is a really part of the story. No technology, no vehicles, everything is done using either man or horse power. The island itself provides many challenges not only for those who live on it but also ships that are passing by. Many ships have crashed near the island leaving people stranded in the rough seas and this often led to loss of life from both those on the ships and those trying to save them. With constantly winds and sandy ground little grows on the island, so most food has to be brought over. Ellie and her father must adapt to this new way of life in order to survive.

But the island does have some good things about it. Ellie makes friends with a local girl named Sarah. She also comes across a wild stallion one day while wandering the island during the hours her father is off working. Through daily visits Ellie gains the stallions trust and considers him a friend, she also gives him a name, Orchid. When the wild horse round up comes Ellie must work together with Sarah to help keep Orchid and his family safe from the islanders.

It’s a story about loss, love, friendship and finding strength. With a nice addition of adding some history of Sable Island and the struggles of living on the small and dangerous island this book is an enjoyable read for those interested in history as well as horses. It also boasts some great artwork throughout the pages that add a nice extra element to the story.


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