Through vivid characterizations of people and place, Joyce West’s storytelling—evocative of L. M. Montgomery’s in her Anne of Green Gable series—draws her reader into the richly-textured, rural setting of New Zealand in the mid-20th century. In this first book, young Gabrielle Allan (called Gay) is living contentedly on Drovers Road, her Uncle Dunsany’s sheep station in the hill country a hundred miles from Gisborne. Besides her young, bachelor uncle there are her three orphaned cousins—Eve, Hugh and Merry—and their Great-Aunt Belle. Taken in by Dunsany years before, after her parents’ divorce, Gay now scarcely remembers any other life. There are lessons at the local school, taught by pretty, sensible Susan Leigh, regular chores, plenty of riding and jumping, pranks with Merry, unlikely pets—and abundant potential for unexpected adventures. Then, everything starts to change. With boarding school suddenly looming on the horizon, Gay and Merry—besides hating the idea—also begin to realize the expense they are to their uncle. Are they the burden standing in the way of Uncle Dunsany’s marriage? Additional unsettling possibilities are added when Gay learns that her father is returning to New Zealand after an absence of many years. Will this mean leaving Drovers Road forever? In a story filled with unforgettable characters (human and otherwise), horse shows and hunts, careless actions and scary consequences, happy (and not-so-happy) romances, young Gabrielle learns something about love and trust through the shared ups and downs of a very human, but also very caring family and extended community.
Original Book: 186 pages