New Zealand raised author Stacy Gregg is famous for her pony novels, particularly her Pony Club Secrets and Pony Club Rivals series, but her latest novel, The Princess and the Foal, takes a slightly different route by being based on true events. The novel is a Junior Fiction finalist in the 2014 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards, and is a fictionalised account of Princess Haya of Jordan’s road to being the first female to compete in (and win) The Kings Cup, a competitive horse riding challenge.
Gregg is passionate about horses (you can read about that in her interview), and it is her extensive knowledge that makes The Princess and the Foal feel so authentic. She also did a huge amount of research into Princess Haya, even travelling to Dubai to meet with her. It is a fascinating insight into Jordan, and into the life of a real-life princess. The novel goes great lengths to show that just because someone is a princess, doesn’t mean she doesn’t dream for more.
When Princess Haya was three, she lost her mother, and became very introverted. Her life began to turn around when her father gave her an orphaned horse, and Princess Haya and her horse Bree are shown to have an incredible relationship. Princess Haya is a strong-willed protagonist (and a bit of a hell-raiser), which makes it easy for readers to connect with. She doesn’t let being female, or young, stop her from doing what she wants to do, and she proves the world that even a young girl can be an incredibly skilled horsewoman.
Ideal for girls aged 8-12, The Princess and the Foal, by Stacy Gregg will be enjoyed by any girl who loves horses and/or who ever wanted to be a princess.