Scrolling through Twitter recently, I was intrigued by the unusual cover of Rafferty Lincoln Loves. And when I saw author Emily Williams was looking for reviewers, I asked to join the Blog Tour straightaway. YA? Tick. Horses? Tick. How could I resist?
Rafferty Lincoln Loves
Blurb: Four teenagers. A missing racehorse. Rumours. Secrets. Lies. Rafferty Lincoln doesn’t like horses. Not one bit. But when the girl of his dreams, Liberty Ashburn, pulls him headfirst into a world of lead ropes and horse brushes, who is he to say no? Except this isn’t any old horse. This is the missing racehorse, Profits Red Ridge. The horse Rafferty and three of his friends are hiding from the world. And Liberty Ashburn isn’t just any ordinary high school girl. How far will Rafferty go to win her over?
Rafferty Lincoln Loves is available as an eBook and paperback from Amazon UK and it’s on Goodreads too. With a foreword from retired jockey, Frankie Dettori, the proceeds from the novel will be donated to the British Thoroughbred Retraining Centre. The BTRC is the UK’s first charity dedicated to ex-racehorse welfare, retraining, rehoming and protection for life.
About the author: Emily Williams lives by the seaside in West Sussex with her family and a menagerie of small pets. After graduating from Sussex University with a BA in Psychology, Emily trained as a primary school teacher and teaches in a local school. Rafferty Lincoln Loves is her second novel. You can visit www.emilywilliamsauthor.blogspot.co.uk, or chat to her on Twitter @EmilyRMWilliams.
I’m a big fan of YA books, as I think some of my previous reviews will bear testament. And I was raised on a diet of pony books (the Pullein-Thompson sisters’ novels being particular favourites, along with National Velvet and Fly-by-Night). So the plot revolving around the accidental discovery of an escaped racehorse and the teenage shenanigans that ensue was cosily familiar.
The themes of growing up, crushes, bullying, loyalties, insecurities, friendship groups, social standing, and the pressures of being a teenager are all explored. How far do you have to go to remain the cool girl or boy? Or to be accepted by them? And what happens to those children who are never accepted and always ostracised (at best) or assaulted (at worst)? Liberty’s payback on Rafferty was, I feel, deserved because he allowed people to believe something that wasn’t true. But Dexter’s treatment was on a wholly different and undeserved level.
The book was an easy read and ticked along nicely until the last 40 pages or so when it suddenly kicked up a gear and galloped (!) towards a denouement that I didn’t see coming. I don’t want to give away any spoilers but it certainly took me by surprise. “If only” certainly is a cruel thing, and the destructive power and speed of rumours are lessons that can never be learned often enough – especially in today’s social media-ruled world.
Would I recommend it?
I would have bought and read this book just to support the BTRC to be honest – but I loved it! It took me back to my teenage years and owning ponies. And stirred certain memories from my own school days that made me smile (skinny dipping and camping) and wince (bullying) in equal measure. Don’t forget to check out what my fellow Blog Tour reviewers thought of the book too – see below:
Big thanks to Emily for a copy of the book (and the gorgeous origami horse bookmark, which my daughter keeps trying to pinch!). I really enjoyed Rafferty Lincoln Loves. And I really hope it sells lots of copies and raises lots of money for the BTRC.
(This post contains some affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission at no cost to you if you make any book purchases using these links).