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Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite
The Sand Pounder: Love and Drama on Horseback in WWII is a young adult historical novel written by M.J. Evans. Covering a period between 1942 to 1944, the book follows seventeen-year-old Jane Morris, a tenacious teenager with an affinity for horses who joins the US Coast Guard's mounted Beach Patrol, the Sand Pounders. Seeing the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Jane feels a deep sense of duty toward her country. She disguises herself as a man and, alongside her faithful mare Star, enlists in the Sand Pounders, where she quickly distinguishes herself with her expert handling of horses. After Jane and her partner, Stephan, are stationed at Lincoln City, Stephan soon discovers her true identity. But he chooses to protect her secret, and they start developing feelings for each other.
Full of heart, The Sand Pounder is set to woo readers who love coming-of-age stories involving animals. M.J. Evans' tale of World War II is filled with romance and drama that reminds you of a nostalgic time of innocence and leaves you pleasantly optimistic. Setting the story during World War II, M.J. Evans masterfully incorporates actual events from history to provide an added sense of authenticity to the story. The characters are realistic and easily relatable. Jane was easy to root for, and I adored her relationship with Stephan. The depiction of Japanese families and their captivity in internment camps was as accurate as it was heartbreaking. I think The Sand Pounder is a novel that will strongly appeal to readers who enjoy romance and historical fiction.