Eleven-year-old Scarlett Owen reviews this book by Hollie Anne Marsh, perfect for any pony mad child

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Sweetbriars: Leaving the City is a charming story about a 12-year old city girl named Cate and her palomino pony, Odette. This book describes the challenges, triumphs, and funny moments as Cate and her pony learn to live in the countryside at a yard named Sweetbriars.

My favourite character was Violet, Cate’s wacky and confident new friend, who is kind, funny and a realistic character.

The author has obviously spent a lot of time with horses, and her fictional horses are very similar to real ones, which I was glad of, as I really love horses.

I was completely surprised by some of the happenings, and this book really kept me guessing. My favourite event was the dressage competition — it was very exciting, and for that whole scene, I could not put it down. There is also a small element of mystery concerning a peculiar neighbour, which I liked because I particularly enjoy mystery books. It is not very much of a mystery but is enough to keep me excited the whole way.

I only have a few negative thoughts — I think we should have heard more about Cate’s former life to properly understand why she was so unhappy at her new home. Also, the characters speak in a formal way to each other, even to their closest family. This could be because that is just the characters’ personalities though, so this is not really very obvious. I found that most of Hollie Anne Marsh’s characters seemed pretty real, and there were a few times when I felt like I knew them well. There were only a few who felt were unrealistic.

Otherwise, I found this book very good, and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is a fantastic story, and I recommend it to all horse lovers, eight to 12-year olds in particular. Packed with a mixture of friendship, horses and a love of the countryside, this book really is a must-read. I hope Hollie Anne Marsh continues the series.

Price: £2.99 on Kindle, or £6.99 in paperback, available via Amazon
Learn more at www.sweetbriarsfarm.com.

For every book purchased a percentage of the sales will be donated to the RDA (Riding for the Disabled Association)

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