Monday, June 3, 2013

Named a most anticipated book for Summer 2013 by The Wall Street Journal and Publishers Weekly, and now on our shelves and reviewed by Pete

A lush, sexy, evocative debut novel of family secrets and girls’-school rituals, set in the 1930s South

It is 1930, the midst of the Great Depression. After her mysterious role in a family tragedy, passionate, strong-willed Thea Atwell, age fifteen, has been cast out of her Florida home, exiled to an equestrienne boarding school for Southern debutantes. High in the Blue Ridge Mountains, with its complex social strata ordered by money, beauty, and girls’ friendships, the Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls is a far remove from the free-roaming, dreamlike childhood Thea shared with her twin brother on their family’s citrus farm—a world now partially shattered. As Thea grapples with her responsibility for the events of the past year that led her here, she finds herself enmeshed in a new order, one that will change her sense of what is possible for herself, her family, her country.

Weaving provocatively between home and school, the narrative powerfully unfurls the true story behind Thea’s expulsion from her family, but it isn’t long before the mystery of her past is rivaled by the question of how it will shape her future. Part scandalous love story, part heartbreaking family drama, The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls is an immersive, transporting page-turner—a vivid, propulsive novel about sex, love, family, money, class, home, and horses, all set against the ominous threat of the Depression—and the major debut of an important new writer.

Pete says:
"Presently a vacation resort destination, Yohahlossee was at one time a girls' school attended by the wealthy daughters of the south. But this novel is set in depression-era 1930-1931, and many went from wealthy to penniless in just a day's time. This is the story of fifteen year old Thea Atwell, banished from her Central Florida country home for an 'indiscretion' and taken to Yonahlossee as punishment. Having been there myself, I can tell you that if you ever find yourself banished, Yonahlossee is the place to be banished to. This picturesque setting has streams and lakes and snow and flowers -- and horses. Thea loves horses and would ride all day everyday if she could. But that little indiscretion seems to have followed her to North Carolina, and just because you've changed locations doesn't mean you've changed who you are. In flashbacks we learn more and more about what Thea brushes off as  'a series of events,' the incidents that altered not only her life but that of her family. The connection between girls and horses is supposed to be about control. Thea is fine on horseback, among the best in the school. But when it comes to her budding sexuality, indiscreet is a nice word to describe her behavior, reckless and out of control might be more like it.
I think this is a perfect vacation read. But wherever you go, one part of you will be lost in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina, the steamy orange groves in Central Florida, in Thea's world of 1930, 1931, and what, if anything, is beyond the 'indiscretion.'"

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