Reviews and Praise for RAJA

“Reminiscent of Anna Sewell’s 19th-century classic, Black Beauty, in its deeply felt narrative as voiced by a thoroughbred racehorse, this first-time novel for ages 11 and up is written with empathy and a vivid sense of drama by Hambleton, a lifelong equestrian and former amateur steeplechase jockey …. Hambleton makes an impressive outing as a first-time author of juvenile fiction, weaving her knowledge and love of horses, horsemanship and the world of competitive racing into a moving narrative that will keep fellow horse-loving readers of any age enthralled.”

—Kirkus starred review


“A compelling tale of the courage and resilience of a great Thoroughbred, my favorite breed.”

—Michael Matz, Hall of Fame Show Jumper, Olympic medalist and trainer of 2006 Kentucky Derby winner, Barbaro


“Anne Hambleton’s enchanting book is fiction, but it might in actuality be true. There is a dark, hidden secret behind the surface glamour of thoroughbred racing. Once a racehorse, especially a gelding, proves insufficient on the racetrack, it becomes unwanted, unappreciated, and unlikely to find a safe harbor. Such is Raja’s fate. One moment, a pampered darling, the next a reject throwaway who spirals down, down, down , through a series of failed second chances, until he’s face to face with the saddest reality of all, the kill pen at the last chance auction. How he is miraculously saved, and how he struggles back to reach the pinnacle of another racing world is the climax of this ultimately uplifting story of destiny lost and destiny regained.”

—Denny Emerson, Hall of Fame Three Day Event rider/trainer, Olympian and author of How Good Riders Get Good


“If RAJA, Story of a Racehorse had been written when I was eleven years old I would have worn the cover off from reading and re-reading it.”

—U.S. Eventing Association Blog


“RAJA, Story of a Racehorse should be required reading for horse-obsessed kids, and will absolutely please their adult counterparts.”

—Natalie Keller Reinert, RetiredRacehorse Blog and author of The Head And Not The Heart


“It’s a brilliant book.”

—Alex Brown, author of Barbaro, Greatness and Goodness


“This is a very very good book. It’s definitely one of my favorite horse books – and I have read a lot of them!….. It’s heartbreaking at times but also wonderful at others. I couldn’t put it down. I would definitely recommend it!



“This book is full of heart. I got swept up in the story and the world of racing and show jumping and steeplechase, and couldn’t put it down. But most of all I loved the indomitable horse Raja and seeing life from his point of view. Hambleton evokes the smells, the countryside, the thrills and the colorful characters with a vivid and knowing pen. In the end, this moving story is about friendship and loyalty, and I’d recommend it to any reader of any age.”

—Peter Heller, author of Kook, winner of the 2010 National Outdoor Book Award and The Whale Warriors


“Captivating read! Anne has done an amazing job of putting the reader inside Raja’s mind. She takes you on a wild ride through Raja’s incredible (but still believable) journey into the varied disciplines that a Thoroughbred could take. Very fun read and a great peek into the inner workings of the extreme equestrian sports world. A must read for any aspiring equestrian!”

—Blythe Miller Davies, two-time National Steeplechase Champion and winner of the 2011 Maryland Hunt Cup


“A page turning adventure. The voice of an animal is not the easiest of genres to master but Hambleton’s lifetime spent with horses gives her an insider’s perspective to the psyche of horses of all personality types …..Readers will want to devour chapter after chapter to see what’s next for her extraordinary horse.”

—The Horse of Delaware Valley


“This is a wonderful book. I read it through in two nights, much of the time with a lump in my throat because it is a well-crafted and well-told story of triumph over adversity—the necessary ingredients of any great story.”

—Norman Fine,


“Captivating …and inspiring, it will make you cheer!”

—George Grayson, Chairman, Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation


“I come from a racing background and this book is very authentic! Great book for children and adults! (It’s) nice to read a horse’s point of view!”

—Georganne Hale, Director of Racing, Maryland Jockey Club


“In a quest to fulfill his destiny, Raja bounds from race-track to fox hunt, city police work, and steeplechase, in an adventure that slowly reveals itself to be a love story. Young equestrians will be thrilled by this fine story.”

—Alex Prud’homme, author of The Ripple Effect and co-author of My Life in France