The Girl Who Rode The Wind by Stacy Gregg tells the history of the world’s most dangerous and famous horse race, the Palio de Siena.
The main characters are a young girl called Lola and her grandmother, Loretta, who travel to Siena in Italy from America. The grandmother tells Lola a story about when she rode in the Palio back when she was young. The Palio is the most dangerous horse race in the world because it is usually set at night and the jockeys ride bareback through the piazza.
When they arrive in Siena, locals think that Lola is a ghost: she looks just like Loretta when she was young. This is how she hears about the Palio, and then Lola really wants to ride in it. The capitano (mayor) sees her ride and encourages her, as he thinks she has a chance of winning it.
Lola meets the horse of her dreams called Nico, who happens to be her friend’s horse. And she is convinced that this is the horse that could help her win the Palio.
Of course a story about the most dangerous horse race in the world would be exciting and adventurous, and Stacy Gregg has certainly packed a lot of adventure into this book.
Stacy has written pony-based stories for many years, and always finds ways to include amazing action and drama from around the world. She was inspired to write this book after interviewing Rosanna Bonelli, one of only two woman to ever ride in the Palio. Stacy stayed with the Bonelli family and also got to meet the famous jockey Trecciolino who won the deadly street race 13 times!
Stacy is a horse rider herself so her descriptions of horses and racing are accurate and I feel like the horses have a main part in the book because they are so well-written. I think horsey girls age ten and over will be interested in this amazing book, which I give 5 stars.
Review by Ava Knowles, age 9
The Girl Who Rode The Wind
by Stacy Gregg
Published by HarperCollins NZ