The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton Disclafani
This novel takes place during the Great Depression of the Nineteen Thirties. The main character, Theadore Atwell (Thea) lives with her twin brother Sam on a farm in rural Florida. Her family has modest means, but is also buoyed up from the worst of the Financial Crises by large citrus holdings in the state.
That being stated, the novel starts out with Thea finding herself attending a pricey, exclusive school for girls in North Carolina called the “Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls”. She was placed there abruptly during the summer months because of a family scandal that is keep under wraps for now. She is shocked and saddened to be here, but also curious and headstrong, loves horses, and is a brilliant equestrian. Gradually we get filled in on the backstory of Thea, and how she came to be here.
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 Great Depression. Much of the novel revolves around dressage, an equestrian sport in which horses and their riders execute a series of precise movements in the ring. It’s a subject that Disclafani, 31 – whose first name is pronounced ANT-un, and who received a reported $1 million advance for her novel in one of the most competitive book auctions of recent years – know very well from her own experience as a serious dressage rider.
This book got five stars on “Goodreads” and is one of the New York Times “Best Books of the Year”. Readalikes include “Shorecliff” by Ursula DeYoung. Visit the Author’s website at antondisclafani.com.