When Robyn Panek is summoned by her ailing Uncle Pal to operate his children’s pony ring for one final season on his Massachusetts farm, her years away form the vacation spot of her youth seem an unbridgeable gap. But she is pulled by forces stronger than memory to piece together the events of that last childhood summer, when a dark mystery swirled about her friend Lucy Dragon.
Twenty-two years after the fateful summer she turned 18, Robyn Panek returns to her dying uncle’s farm to must close down the beloved Massachusetts homestead. Her memories of that time come flooding back, and she is immersed once again in the turmoil of adolescence and the stark confrontation between her and “crazy” Lucy Dragon, the girl she hoped would be the friend of her dreams, and Frankie, the boy she believed would be the love of her life. She decides to reopen the farm’s main attraction, the Happy Trails Pony Ring, for a final season and drums up some publicity for an auction. A newspaper article draws first Lucy and then Peter, who want to help, and the three finally confront the seminal event that has shaped their adult lives. Shea brings uncommon depth and richness to her narrative, which powerfully conveys both the adolescent push for independence and the adult need for connection.
© Copyright Booklist.
Readers will relate to the ordinary people in this “gentle mystery,” the author’s fourth book (following Lily of the Valley). Robyn Panek, who spends summers on her Aunt Victory and Uncle Pal’s Massachusetts farm, particularly enjoys leading young riders around the pony ring. However, during her 18th summer, something bizarre happened that was never properly explained or resolved. Now, many years later, Victory is no longer alive, Pal is terminally ill, and Robyn has been summoned to operate the pony ring one last season before closing the farm. The return of Lucy Dragon, a boarder who spent one summer on the farm before leaving under strange circumstances, appears to be a complication. However, Lucy has returned to make peace with the people she wronged that summer, and as a result Robyn is now able to face her past and gain some understanding of where her life is heading. A heartwarming story; recommended for all public libraries.
© Copyright Library Journal.