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Heart of Fire Library Binding – October 10, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-7–After the death of their parents, Maddie, 15, and her older sister go to live with their grandparents in the country. Maddie would rather be in London and is not thrilled that her family expects horseback riding to replace her city life. Unexpectedly, her older brother returns from Namibia, where he has been living since fighting in the Great War. He has brought with him a beautiful horse, and Maddie becomes a devoted rider. Firebird proves to be a talented jumper, and the siblings decide that they will train her for the King George V Gold Cup. Their plans are upset, though, when the family discovers what Maddie has known for some time: Theo is an imposter who assumed her brother's identity after he was presumed dead in an accident. Despite numerous obstacles, there is little doubt as to how this story will end. Horse lovers might find the training schedules interesting, but those who are looking for a really good animal story may find the details less involving. Though the story line has some enjoyable twists and turns, it is hard to believe that no one but Maddie notices that Theo is a fake. The characters are not memorable, and the story's pacing will not have readers stampeding to the shelves.–Carol Schene, formerly at Taunton Public Schools, MA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Ever since brother Theo left for the Great War, and then went on an African mining expedition, Maddie and her family have struggled with a hole in their hearts. Theo's sudden reappearance at the family's English estate brings joy and celebration. But the Theo who comes home somehow isn't the same as the young man who left. Uncomfortable at times and secretive, he resonates with mystery, and he remains apart even as he and Maddie work together with a new horse that Maddie names Firebird. Frustrated by Theo's impenetrability, Maddie continues to chip away at the wall around her brother until she finally figures out his secret. She then faces the daunting question of whether to tell her family or let things stay as they are. With several other surprises to keep the plot moving forward, this is a satisfying historical adventure with special appeal for readers who relish horse stories. Anne O'Malley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Library Binding: 352 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (October 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060520310
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060520311
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,243,887 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on October 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I read an ARC of this book and I fell in love with it! I almost reread the whole book right after I finished it! This book had me laughing and crying at all the right times. It was definately one of the best books I have ever read and I've read ALOT of them. I definately think you should read this, whether you like horses or not!
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Format: Hardcover
Maddie is a 15-year-old girl who has lived in her grandparents' country estate in England, ever since her parents died. Her older sister, Louisa, also lives with them--but Theo, their brother is fighting in the Great War (WWII).

The main plot of the book begins when Theo suddenly returns from the war--what a wonderful surprise for the family! It has been so many years and Theo has changed so much. He awkwardly tries fitting in with their life at Sefton Park. However, most of the time, Theo is out in the stable with the horses. Because of him, Maddie takes the leap and finally shows an interest in horses, just like what her grandparents had wanted her to do for so long.

She slowly becomes more and more attached to her brother until she uncovers something he has been hiding from the family. It is intriguing and astonishing--it even caught me by surprise! However, by the time Maddie finds out Theo's secret, if she tells everyone it will wreck all the horse riding plans that she and her brother had. How much farther will she go without telling? What kind of trouble is it going to cost her?

"Heart of Fire" is a excellent story, and revolves a lot around horses. So, if you're a horse fanatic and love historical fiction, I'm sure this is the book for you.
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