Carly is 11 years old and lives with her grandfather on a 200-acre Virginia farm while both parents serve in the military overseas. She loves the farm, and befriends all of the animals including a sneaky red fox that stalks her grandfather's prize chickens. Her best friend is her pony, Monroe, who shares her enthusiasm for adventure. Carly's constant dream is to ride with the Riverdale Hunt Club that passes through her grandfather's property. On one particularly rainy Saturday, Carly watches from her front porch as the finely dressed ladies and gentlemen ride to the hounds. Later in the day, Carly finds out that a young hound named Hampton has become lost and Carly is determined to find him and by so doing endear herself to the hunt's Master; perhaps to be asked to ride Monroe in an upcoming meet. Carly enlists the help of her friend, Freddie, but the adventure is just beginning. Carly, Monroe, Hampton and the red fox have no idea what dangers await them.
This is a bittersweet story of an 11 year old girl who lives with her grandfather on a farm while she waits for her parents to return from serving overseas in the military. She has a pony and she dreams of being asked to be part of the Hunt. The descriptions of the hunt and her fantasy of being part of it - jumping the fences, feeling the wind in her hair, seeing the fox and hearing the hounds in pursuit - really bring the reader into her world. The story is told in the point of view of Carly, her cat, her pony, a lost hound dog, a fox, and a Vietnam veteran with PTSD who doesn't want to be a hero but keeps acting like one. It is a good read for a child as well as an adult. The story is not all sweetness and light but the author does a great job of writing about the hard choices and lessons learned in such a way that feels true. I would recommend this book to any parent who has a middle school child. Also, the illustrations were great!