Finishing school is no place for an adventurous, high-energy girl, so when Fortuna “Lucky” Esperanza Navarro Prescott’s widower father is called west to supervise the railroad’s last push to the Pacific, she begs to accompany him.
But when biracial (white/Latina) Lucky, her white, railroad-magnate father, and his sister, Cora, arrive in Miradero after a long train ride, it is nothing like any of them imagined. With her father busy with work, it is up to Lucky and her aunt to set up their home and make friends. Stuffy Cora soon finds her society ways at odds with the reality of her new home. And Lucky realizes that unless she learns to ride a horse, she will forever be on the outside. When she meets a wild stallion penned in town, Lucky hopes that she has inherited more than her dark hair and brown skin from her trick-riding mother, a former circus performer who died when she was 2. Inspired by the 2002 movie Spirit: Stallion of Cimarron, Lucky’s adventures in her new home will woo history fans and Western buffs alike. Lucky’s bicultural heritage is given short shrift, and Miradero’s race relations feel ahistorical at best; snobbish Mrs. Gutierriez, the mayor’s wife (and mother of mean girl Maricela), bemoans the difficulty of finding good help to the equally snooty Cora. But the fresh voice and unbridled enthusiasm of both girl and horse will inspire anyone dealing with their own isolation and teasing.
A wild ride that will make spirits soar. (Historical fiction. 8-12)