Isabelle Holland (1920-2002)

American author. Born in 1920 in Switzerland, where her American parents were living at the time. She spent her child-hood and early adulthood between Switzerland, Guatemala City and England, and did not move to her native country until she was in her 20s and war forced her to leave England in order to continue her university studies. She worked in publishing for many years before returning to an early love of writing. In fact she did not have her first novel published until 1967. However she did manage to write over 50 books despite this somewhat late start!

Although her first novel
Cecily was an adult book, most of her subsequent novels have been children's/young adult stories. She did however continue writing for adults as well, mainly in the 'gothic mystery' genre. Her teen novels deal with subjects of depth and importance, often with controversial content, including, for example, a homosexual encounter between a boy and his tutor in the book The Man Without A Face. (This was made into a film in 1993 starring Mel Gibson.)

A few of her books feature ponies, and like her non-pony books, these explore some complex and controversial issues. She has also written a biblical-themed donkey story.

Isabelle Holland additionally wrote under the pen name of Francesca Hunt.

Horse & Pony Books:

EDITION PICTURED: 1st edition.
SUMMARY: When her father goes away young Jessamy is sent to boarding school and her beloved horse Peaceable is left behind. Jessamy's father does not like horses and he forgets to pay the livery fees for Peaceable, who is subsequently sold by the stable owners. When Jessamy returns to visit her horse she finds him gone, and, teaming up with another teenage runaway, sets off to search for him.
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(1st UK edition SEVERN HOUSE 1983)
Reprinted in paperback by Fawcett.
Published in the UK by Severn House.
Large print edition published by Magna.
EDITIONS PICTURED: 1st edition, paperback edition.
SUMMARY: Hard-hitting young adult mystery with a horse theme. Not suitable for younger children. Seventeen year old Perdita is found almost dead at the bottom of a well and has lost her memory. How did she end up there? What was her life before? She takes a job at a nearby stables and discovers she is an excellent horsewoman. She also begins to piece together the dark mysteries of her past, and in doing so puts herself in danger.
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(WALKER [USA] 1987)
EDITION PICTURED: 1st edition.
SUMMARY: Janet has an unhappy home-life with an unsympathetic mother and awful sister. She feels she can only be happy when she is around horses. Her mother however disapproves of horses and is angry when Janet has saved up her baby-sitting money to buy Toby. When Janet has a riding accident her mother orders her to sell her beloved pony...

EDITION PICTURED: 1st edition.
SUMMARY: Biblical tale about a boy and his donkey who are caught up in the events of the first Easter. When the boy loses his beloved donkey he learns the truth about the preachings of Jesus.

Collector's Info:
The books are all fairly easy to find in the USA, with the donkey story being the least common of the titles. At the time of writing, Toby the Splendid is still in print there. As far as I know the only one of these to have a UK printing was Perdita, with two UK editions available: one a large print edition which is fairly easy to find, but is usually ex-library. The first UK edition published by Severn House is hard to find. The other books are not that easy to find outside of the USA.