by Joanna Campbell
Original Publication: 1995
I'm pretty convinced this book set the standard for Karen Bentley, as this is Joanna Campbell's last book. It's filled to the brim with enough general racing information, horse training technique and sixth grade math to bore one to tears. But don't worry, we've got our typical happy ending as well.
I give you the cover:
This cover was always pretty blah to me, but its only now that I'm struck by how Saddle Club it is. Not that there's anything wrong about the Saddle Club. It's just that, look, Glory is sold at the Keeneland January sale. The Keeneland January sale doesn't involve yellow handpainted banners, nylon halters, and dumpy women wearing sweatshirts, okay? It just doesn't.
One little note about this blurb: Cindy's adoption isn't rejected, it's just slow to finalize and they have to go through an interview. That's pretty much it.Will Cindy and Glory both be able to stay at Whitebrook Farm?Cindy Blake couldn't be happier, now that she lives at Whitebrook Farm. When her adoption is final, Cindy will finally have a loving home with the McLean family. And Glory, the stolen colt that Cindy rescued from abuse, shows more promise as a racehorse every day.
But suddenly Cindy's worst nightmares begin to come true. First her adoption is not approved. Then Glory's real owner puts the colt on the auction block. Will Whitebrook Farm and her beloved Glory soon be just another memory for Cindy?
1. Glory. Specifically: secretly training Glory. The entire book, which covers about two months and a week, is about two eleven-year-old girls trying to condition a two-year-old racehorse. Sound implausible? Yeah, it really does. There's a lot of talk about how Cindy doesn't really know what she's doing, and how to the best of her knowledge she thinks she's doing things right and oh, if Mike and Ian find out what she's doing people will be pissed off and you know what? She's right about everything and no one gets mad and she gets her horse in the end. Yay, Cindy. Yeah. Moving on.
2. I'd say the adoption plot, but really it wasn't a plot as a mere blip on the screen.
- Then Glory jumped the fence and escaped into Whitebrook land. -- I know Joanna means to imply that the land is Whitebrook's possession, but the way it's worded seems like Whitebrookland! A happy, wonderful place filled with butterflies and rainbows!
- Yet again no one is standing up during the races. I really find this phenomenon quite intriguing as I don't think it's possible for people so invested in these races to remain sitting the entire time.
- Don't you love how whenever something bad happens everyone suspects Lavinia? She's not even at the race and they're all making with the shifty eyes after Ashleigh's stirrup snaps off and whispering, "Maybe it was Lavinia!" Yeah. Right. Because she really cares when her horse isn't involved. Uh-huh.
- Again with the fried chicken. Only this time it's baked instead of fried, which seems to imply then that it hasn't been fried at all because what would be the point if it's already been baked? Someone please explain this to me!
- Why the hell are they allowing an eleven-year-old kid without much formal training take a two-year-old racehorse out on a trail without supervision? Nevermind that it's a racehorse they don't own? Sounds like a real smart plan there, Whitebrook people.
- Joanna really got into the whole the horse tosses his head "as if to say" yay! or I am such a badass! or I love you so much you tiny, idiot girl! thing.
- Yes, Cindy. Glory isn't winded because you only cantered him down a lane for a few minutes. I've ridden teenaged ex-broodmares who've accomplished the same. Please shut up already.
- Okay, look. I'm a librarian. I get the huge power of information and all that crap, but I also know that you're not going to train a racehorse successfully because you read a book about it. This is sort of why I always wanted Glory to kick Cindy in the head.
- Ah, Angelique is still around. I imagine that's an interesting side story that was never told. And, of course, Yvonne beats Angelique in their show because the blond antagonists never win as a rule.
- Wow, what a coinkydink. Glory actually is a Glory! The astonishments never cease.
- Okay, Ian rules out training Glory because he figures the attorneys for the owner's estate wouldn't allow it. But he sees no problem in letting his eleven-year-old foster child with little to no experience ride the horse. Yes. I know. The gap in thought is tremendous.
- Mandy, an 8-year-old, is calling Cindy "girl." That...is very awkward.
- Yeah, Cindy, Heather's carrying a measuring tape a quarter of a mile long. Didn't you see her hauling it around with her on the trail? To Heather's credit, her answer to Cindy's stupid question is "no, of course not." Good for you, Heather. Way not to be an idiot.
- Okay, now the random populace is driving around in Jeep Cherokees. Seriously. What is it with the Jeep Cherokee? How crazed can one be over a car?
- So Blues King goes from retired to going back into racing in the spring. Just like he went from being a gelding to a stallion and from coming in second in the Breeders' Cup Sprint to winning it.
- The great saving grace for this book: Cindy completely fails to breeze Glory in front of everyone on the training oval. Like, epic fail.
- Of course, after Glory does his magic everyone convinces Ian to focus more on their next "wonder horse" than to discipline Cindy because that would involve, you know, parenting.
- The magic number for this installment is 10,000. Unfortunately Glory is sold for $12,000, ruining the consistency and importance of the number 10,000, but otherwise it's said like once a chapter for 3/4 of the book.
I betcha Joanna Campbell didn't think that "wonder horse" comment was going to come back and bite the series on the ass.