How many miles to Babylon?
Three score miles and ten.
Can I get there by candlelight?
Yes, and back again.
If your heels are nimble and light,
You can get there by candlelight.
Gail Simmons and her family have just moved, and while their new house is being built, they are renting an old coachman’s house, the main house torn down long ago. Gail’s parents are busy working and such. But Gail and her pony, Candy (Short for Candlelight), have a whole summer ahead of them of riding and exploring. The estate had many acres of lawn and meadow, perfect for both activities. One afternoon while exploring on Candy, Gail discovers an old, rusty iron gate, which perhaps has not been opened for years. With the help of some oil, she gets it open. On the other side is a soft, mossy path leading through lush, shady woods. As they ride deeper, they abruptly come to a wide, sunlit lawn, where a tiny white dog comes at them, barking hysterically. Frightened, Candy bucks and Gail is thrown. As Gail tries to catch her, she sees a girl dressed in what seemed to be apparel from one hundred years before running across the lawn towards her. Hilary Blake, resident of the house in the woods, apologizes for her dog scaring Candy. After they catch her, Hilary expresses her love for riding and horses to Gail. Gail doesn’t know this girl, but she senses the spark of a friendship. Throughout the summer, Gail and Candy ride back to Babylon, the estate where Hilary lives. Gail is surprised at how well Hilary rides, and they even end up driving Candy in Hilary’s beautiful pony cart. But every time Gail rode back home for the night, she wondered, who was Hilary really? Was it all a joke? After all, she was dressed from the 1800s and had maids and horse-drawn buggies… Gail always had the urge to go back though. One day Hilary showed Gail a polished trunk with a riding suit and hat and a pretty sidesaddle lay. Gail remembered she had found one like it in the abandoned carriage house. And the initials on them, HB. Hilary Blake. Something was not right. Gail’s father had told her that the Babylon estate had been gone for years. So how was it possible that when they crossed the iron gate, they found it?
This is a good cliffhanger read, that throws stuff at you when you’re least expecting it. It is also a fairly easy read, 122 pages, I read it in a few hours. I liked how descriptive and detailed Jean Slaughter Doty was when writing this, it really helps with processing the events. Animal characters are also always so lovable and amusing, as Candy was. This is a great book to read when you have nothing to do or are bored. It is also a fairly old book, and most of the time they are simple and enjoyable. I hope you find it as interesting as I did!