Shadow of a Doubt
When a new foal is born but loses his mother, Fyfe gains a loyal best friend in the horse she names “Shadow of a Doubt.” Together they dream that one day Shadow will become the a great racehorse and win the Kentucky Derby. At first, few believe in Shadow’s prospects—especially when the neighbor next door, Colonel Epsom, uses his great wealth to produce racehorses of the finest caliber and will do whatever it takes to see them win. But Fyfe and Shadow, with the help of their animal friends, refuse to give up on their dreams.
Shadow of a Doubt is a heartfelt book about family, friendship, taking risks and believing in those we love. Shadow and Fyfe are sure to win the hearts of anyone lucky enough to join in their inspirational story.
There will always be middle grade readers, especially girls, who love a good horse story. Marguerite Henry has always been my go-to writer for these tales, but after 70 years, her books don't hold up as well as they used to. There are some good horse stories that have come out more recently-- Macadoo of the Maury River by Amateau, The Georges and the Jewels series by Smiley, and The outside of a horse by Rorby.
The small line drawings that accompany some of the chapters are rather charming, although I was a bit surprised when the horses started conversing among themselves. This is still a realistic fiction book, since the horses didn't talk to people, and they only discussed topics that horses would discuss.
Epsom reminded me of Mr. Potter from It's a Wonderful Life in his single minded devotion to squashing the Flynn's for no apparently good reason. I definitely envisioned him as Lionel Barrymore in a stuffy suit, complete with bowler hat!
There are lots of details about racing and life at the track, and this seems to be set during a time around the Great Depression. It's not explicitly stated, but Fyfe wears wool pants and has to masquerade as a boy so she isn't disqualified, but there are automobiles. The struggles the small family face are realistic and met with a can-do attitude as well as some ingenuity.