Runaway HorsesAuthor: Alfred Silver
Publisher: Pottersfield Press
In the middle of the nineteenth century, an essential link between the capitals of the Old World and the New was a dozen young Nova Scotian wild-riders. A new syndicate called the Associated Press made a deal with Cunard Steamship Lines that the Royal Mail Ships would carry a news packet to be telegraphed to New York City. A steam launch would speed the packet across the Bay of Fundy to the nearest telegraph station, at St. John. But, despite the modern miracles of steam power and electromagnetism, the fastest way to carry the news packet from the Halifax docks to the Fundy shore would still be relays of galloping horses. The Halifax Express needed riders who were light in the saddle yet long-limbed and strong enough to handle the monster thoroughbreds of the day.Seana McCann is a sixteen-year-old Irish immigrant whose father’s been killed in a far-off war and whose mother sees an escape from potato-grubbing poverty by marrying a wealthy farmer. It seems clear to Seana that the old farmer’s not just interested in getting a readymade family, but in having a teenage stepdaughter who belongs to him until she turns twenty-one. But her mother won’t listen to her and intends to go ahead with the marriage. Seana sees no way out, nowhere to run.In another part of the province, a half-Acadian half-Mi’kmaq teenage orphan feels that one of the orphanage school priests is taking an unhealthy interest in him, hanging around the stables where the boy sleeps and tends the horses. But if he fights off the priest’s advances, it will be a case of a nasty half-savage attacking a Man of God, and all the orphans are the property of the Church until they turn twenty-one. He seems to be trapped, with no way of escape.Then word goes out that a new enterprise called The Halifax Express is looking for lithe and limber young men who’re good with horses and willing to gallop punishing distances. It seems like an operation that won’t ask too many questions, so long as you can do the job. Maybe a teenage runaway could disappear into the Halifax Express and squirrel away enough wages to have a future. Maybe even a gawky girl too tall for her age could shear her hair off and pretend to be a boy.Like all of Alfred Silver’s historical novels, Runaway Horses sticks within the historical record and incorporates documented events. This story might well have happened exactly as it’s told.
|ISBN associated with this title:||9781897426494|
|Published on||April 3 2013|
|Dimensions||8.5(in) x 5.5(in)|