Friday, December 6, 2013

Some great reviews...

Without reservation, I heartily recommend "The Littlest Racehorse." Juell has an encyclopedic knowledge of the racing industry and is a great storyteller. Helluva read!


Mares, Foals &Ferraris: Recollections of a Farmer in the Sport of Kings (Paperback) A. Allen Juell's "Mares, Foals, and Ferraris" had me ricocheting between continuous chortles and great, guffawing, belly laughs until I had tears rolling down my cheeks. His always witty, often pithy, and sometimes poignant observations on his accidental career as a farm manager, and the inner conspiratorial life of thoroughbreds, their owners, and other animals (some human!) that share their orbit will take you by surprise, just as though you had run into Dick Francis and OE Sommerville Ross in the company of the gang from The Cuckoo's Nest. A magnificent first novel and sure winner for horsemen and non-hosemen alike, it will make everyone wish they had a cat of undetermined gender as an advisor and confidant while muddling through the maze of love, malignent farm equipment, and the inevitable tragedy that can change one's life in unsuspected and permanent ways. This is a must for the reader on your holiday gift list.


The Littlest Racehorse (Paperback) I found this book to be an enjoyable mixture combining historical and personal events, real horsepower and heart. The novel crosses historical, young adult and general fiction genres as it recreates the confusion and tension of the Cuban Missile Crisis and its aftermath in the lives of everyday Americans, weaving personal crisis with the chaos of national crisis.

The story is a forthrightly-told account of horrific incidents and events in lives of two children, Emily and Josh, and the grownup people and situations they are forced to deal with. The story opens the morning of the Missile Crisis’ commencement, and immediately establishes rapport with the two children the novel’s events revolve around. Events trigger great change in the children’s lives, involving along the way a spurned ‘little’ horse that helps to bond them to a new life.

Family tragedy tests old bonds and brings new ones, and readers are brought along on a journey of change and regrowth ... finishing with conclusion that is both page-turning and heart-warming.

The book treats the subject of horses with mature understanding and humor ... not always glowingly but lovingly all the same. One of the book’s highlights is that readers are treated to an accurate and honest view of the horse industry.

Surprises in the book run the scale from twists and reversals of fate to the emotional high points that suddenly bring real feeling out. Mirrors to others’ experiences spring up in the writing. This is a layered work that meanders into unexpected places we recognize from another angle.

There is a style to the story and it not completely even; there are stories within the story that grow distinct and at times the mix becomes a tangle. The eddies form part of the experience ... as with life the story’s digressions and observations of reactions to events play a larger part than the events themselves. At times the author invites readers to find their own thoughts, not to simply read and record.

There is a lot going on in “The Littlest Racehorse,” between historical glimpses, realistic equine portrayals, and a faithful undercurrent of morality and meaning under examination. Those familiar with the author’s work will recognize Juell’s whimsical, sardonic tone and his sudden insights that become the purpose of the journey even as we are narrated through larger events.

The story changes pace and direction and comes back again, until the heartwarming end pages fire a series of scenes with real emotion and joy ... and you realize the characters have grown in your affections, and that you have not only enjoyed the characters’ story but have remembered forgotten parts of your own.

The author with his aging war-horse, Rocinante...leaving for somewhere.
Signed copies available: or PM via Facebook.
Gosh that sounds silly....