“…the style and plot, the characters (especially the description of the horses) are all quite polished and enjoyable…”
Judges Commentary, 18th Annual Writers Digest Awards
Heartwarming story for young readers who love horses. In her debut novel, 13-year-old Gritta writes about what she knows and loves: horses. Mystery at Silver Key Stables tells the tale of Kelly Normand, who feels out of place and miserable in her family’s new home in Oregon until she starts taking riding lessons. Silver Key Stables is the one place Kelly is comfortable, as it reminds her of happier times spent riding in Montana before the family’s move. Using simple imagery and an eye for detail, the author brings the stables, horses and riding trails into clear focus for young readers, who will be drawn to the spirited characters—human and horse. Besides the stabled horses, Silver Key Stables has something different to offer—a wild mustang herd which is part of the owner’s mustang-rescue operation. Kelly and Farid, a stable hand about Kelly’s age, get dangerously close to the herd while out riding. Shortly afterward, the leader, Black Magic, gets injured and the pair takes care of the huge stallion. Initially resistant, Black Magic slowly responds to Kelly’s gentle ministrations. Things seem to be going well until she discovers the black horse, and several others on the ranch, were actually stolen. Breathtaking illustrations and well-written passages describe the stolen horses' temperaments, backgrounds and ultimate fates. A compelling story written with familiarity and tenderness.
"Mystery at Silver Key Stables is a wonderfully written first book for this young writer. Her passion for horses is evident …Her understanding of the current crisis for horses in this country at her tender age shows great maturity and compassion...that she was inspired to write this book to benefit horses in need at this critical and difficult time is truly touching."
Whitney Wright, Director of Hope for Horses, Asheville, NC
"Well written…and intriguing to the end. This young author reached into a world in which I have lived. I can only hope the readers of this book understand that, although these characters are fictional, the victims and criminals are very real. I deal with similar stories daily and was touched by the way Alexandra...brought this very real issue to life. This child gets it."
Debi Metcalfe, Author of Horse Theft. Been There--Done That, and
Founder of Stolen Horse International/NetPosse.com
"Impressive…clear, simple, and evocative and the plot…is laid out and woven well."
Alexandra Marks, Christian Science Monitor
"I LOVE THE BOOK!!!…emotion, suspense, and a draw to keep…reading to see what would happen next."
Susan Pohlman, Founder, Whispering Winds Equine Rescue
and Living Legends Wild Horse Sanctuary, Roseburg, OR
"Mystery at Silver Key Stables is a must have for all young horse enthusiasts. The twist of mystery woven into a heartwarming horse story makes it a fun and engaging book to read. The author's depth of compassion for horses is very evident in her writing and is truly impressive for her young age."
Diana Pikulski, Executive Director
Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, Saratoga Springs, NY
"Drama, suspense, and surprises…a compelling story…well written…a page-turner."
Dr. James Seal, Professor
University of Portland
"The heroine is bold, head-strong, and fearless. Young readers looking for a good horse story with a happy ending won't be disappointed."
Jacque Schultz, Senior Director
ASPCA National Outreach, New York, NY
"An insightful look at kids and horses and the relationship that brings them together."
David O’Connor, President and CEO
United States Equestrian Federation, Inc., Lexington, KY
"This warm, gentle story of friendship, family, and the special bond between a young rider and a mysterious wild mustang is brought to life by a highly promising thirteen-year-old author whose love for horses shines through on every page."
Dr. Edward Freed, Professor Emeritus, Author
"This story is captivating to readers of all ages. A well-written page-turner by a young, talented writer! Her love and understanding of horses is very evident and it is inspiring to see a young writer already on the road to success."
Jennifer Malpass, Board Chair
United States Equine Rescue League
"WOW! This fictional horse story is interesting, exciting, realistic and emotionally satisfying. ...the Oregon author('s)... debut book is part of her Charity Book Series, which benefits charitable equine organizations. ... (The) overall story was very appealing because the teen voice provided a viewpoint that an adult writer could not achieve. ...the young author's goal of making reader's aware of the plight of stolen horses is quite admirable. The artwork and descriptions of the horses at the end of the story is a wonderful addition."
Sharon Miner, Author, "Beloved Horses" Book Series