He looked so small down there, walking alongside Minty, with one grubby hand resting reassuringly on the horse’s neck.
I’ve been genuinely unsure how to word this review since I finished Rafferty Lincoln Loves by Emily Williams some time ago. I think I’ve sat down on several occasions to contemplate how I felt about it all and ultimately am still left with uncertain emotions. It’s not often that I have this difficult of a time with a review and admittedly this is entirely due to the ending, which I will not disclose. Beginning the novel was a happy occasion for me since I learned that the novel itself had been written with the intention of donating all proceeds to the British Thoroughbred Retraining Centre and I’d been thrilled at the prospect of getting it and giving my opinion on it.
I’ll admit that this was a slow book for me. I wasn’t especially driven to find out what was going to happen next nor did I fall particularly in love with any of the characters. I found Rafferty nice enough to read, but I didn’t love him and there were definitely times I felt he was somewhat unrealistic or underdeveloped. He was also a little irritating at times, but then again by no means was he as irritating as his crush, Liberty, who genuinely seemed like a giant brat throughout most of the novel. Of the other characters they were all rather forgettable barring one, Dexter.
I did really love Dexter’s character. There was a lot to appreciate about him from his personality to the connection he represented for several of the other characters. I felt a connection there that I never really managed with any other character in the novel. I think the overall writing was okay and this is probably the sort of book that I might have loved when I was twelve years old. At twenty-five, however, I found certain aspects somewhat dull, I think perhaps a commentary on the fact that I’ve grown to a point where I don’t really care to read about typical events unless they’re written exceedingly well.
And everything involving the high school wasn’t all that interesting. The girl from the library barely held my attention. Liberty’s brother was practically non-existent for how much he actually offered to the novel. The one moment of significant tension at school between two characters just seemed incredibly ridiculous, ultimately resulting in my newly developed dislike of the book’s title. But Dexter? Dexter was interesting. Dexter had a backstory and a home life that made a slow, gripping entrance to the novel. I don’t think I would have stopped reading the book without him, but I don’t think there would have been a single thing I loved about the novel if he hadn’t been a part of it.
Which, I think, ultimately, is why I was left so shaken by the ending. The story follows a group of four kids; Rafferty, Dexter, Liberty, and her brother William who find a horse in the middle of the road while on their bike route one morning shortly after a prized race horse has gone missing. Within a short while of coming across the horse, the group decides to hide and keep the animal which they name Minty. It’s a heartwarming tale that has a clear predictability for some trouble down the road with the fact that the owners are desperately searching for their very valuable race horse. The book goes slowly, culminating in quite a lot of drama, much that readers would never see coming when they first begin the story but reveals itself piece by piece as they progress.
It’s by no means one of the best books I’ve ever read. But it is a good one and worth giving a little time to.
I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.