What is it about teenage girls that attracts time travel?
Samantha DeVries in Connecticut has enough pressure
already. Her father's Olympic dreams were shattered with
an injury, so now he intends the plucky girl to be the
first African-American to compete in a riding class at the
Olympics. Sam loves horses, so she trains non-stop, and she
takes judo classes and socialises at the country club.
TURNING ON A DIME then introduces us to Caroline Chandler,
a girl growing up in Mississippi in 1863. She loves her
own horse Pandora, and she just takes it for granted that
some of the people on the property are her family's slaves,
because she's never known anything different. The war
between the states has been raging for two years, and
troops on both sides are in need of remounts. Caroline
wants to safeguard her beloved horses, even more than she
wants to escape her restrictive crinoline garments.
When the girls meet, Samantha has taken a trip to stay in a
period house and she thinks the old-fashioned dress of the
girl who wakes her, is because she's recreating 'Little
Women'. Caroline has not seen many biracial persons and
assumes that Samantha is a slave. The girl freely admits
to being a slave in the barn, but claims to own a horse -
impossible. Samantha realises that the creaking old live
oak trees draped in Spanish moss, have become saplings
while she slept. Not only that, her phone can't get
"I've paid scant attention to Mom's lessons on
emancipation, Rosa Parks and the civil rights movement,
figuring that we've all moved beyond it," says Sam. "But
now I'm in a time warp, and it's ugly." Caroline is
separated from her family and the Union soldiers take over
her house. The two girls learn to work together and stand
strong, even in desperate circumstances. "I can't change
history," says Sam, which is odd considering that she has
been doing her best to change it.
We are told that about a million horses were killed during
that awful time of conflict. There's lots to learn in this
fast-moving adventure tale and I cheered on the great
characters as they tried to survive and keep their beloved
horses alive. Maggie Dana has given us a heroine to
remember in Samantha and a girl ahead of her time in
Caroline. Young adults of many interests, but especially
those who like horses, will revel in TURNING ON A DIME.
Two girls from two different centuries and the horse that
brings them together. Teenage equestrian Samantha DeVries
wants to be the first African American to ride in the
Olympics. Her father, a successful horse trainer, pushes Sam
to excel, while Sam’s academic mother tries to instill a
sense of heritage in her headstrong daughter who’d rather be
riding than studying history, except when it comes to
researching the gaps in her horse’s pedigree.
But Sam’s beliefs and her carefully constructed world
shatter like a jelly jar when she travels through a time
portal and lands in the canopy bed of an 1860s Southern
belle. Even more surprised by Sam’s unexpected arrival is
Caroline Chandler. She’s a tomboy who wears breeches beneath
her crinoline and rides horses bareback, much to the dismay
of her critical mother.
But neither girl has time to fret over customs and clothes.
The Civil War is raging, and soldiers from both sides are
stealing horses. At risk is Pandora, Caroline’s beloved
mare. Without her, Sam’s future Olympic horse, Nugget, won’t
exist in the present. Neither will Sam if the slave catchers