It used to be said that Philippa Pearce was the queen of short sentences; now newcomer Susanna Bailey is a serious contender for that title. Her debut story Snow Foal is absolutely beautifully written, with lots of poignant moments and deeply affecting.
During a very cold winter, eleven year old Abbie is sent to stay with a foster-care family in a remote farm on Exmoor. She’s hurting badly inside, angry and mistrusts the people around her especially Sunni, another foster child of Ruth and Sam. What’s more she’s convinced that her stay at the farm is to be a very short one, despite what her social worker and others tell her.
Then one day Abbie rescues a little wild foal that has become separated from its mother too; now it seems that in him she has found a kindred spirit.
Their friendship grows and Abbie becomes increasingly determined to reunite the foal with his mother, putting herself into all kinds of danger so to do.
Ultimately though despite disappointments for Abbie, this story is one of love, healing, hope and friendship: a tale where although you’re eager to discover what happens, you’re forced to slow down and savour the writing of such passages as this: ‘But she couldn’t go now. She felt paper-thin; as transparent as a wind- blown leaf. Everyone would be able to see right inside her.’
This book would make a superb Christmas present; I suggest reading it snuggled under a cosy blanket.