Dancing on Horses is a historical fiction novel set primarily in South Carolina, though in certain portions it makes mention to other areas of the South. Initially the story focuses on a young boy named Tobe who is growing up within the Southern Baptist Church. Over the course of his life he meets a number of young women whom he falls for, one of whom is named Anne and receives her own development outside of Tobe’s story.
Tony J. Stafford examines what it is like to grow up in the South from the late 1940’s and into the 1960’s. Tobe, even as a child, struggles to understand and accept some of the information that his family insists he should accept. He struggles with his faith and while he continues to rely on God he cannot seem to find his true path. Tobe looks for guidance from his family, but is often brushed aside and when he does think he’s found the right path it is often motivated by the desire to be with a specific woman. His journey is complicated and marked by a worldview in which he never challenges what is set before him. When he meets Anne he feels he has fallen in love, though he does not fully understand why this woman has struck him so suddenly. Anne challenges the Southern ideology around her and pushes Tobe to look past what he has been told to accept.
The story within Dancing on Horses looks at how different people respond to the world around them. While Anne pushes to make the world better and more equal, she also is struggling to understand herself. This struggle matches Tobe’s in some degree, but while he struggles to find his path and find a woman that he loves, Anne is pushing to make him see the inequality in Southern society. Dancing on Horses is an interesting examination of Southern life in the era building up to the Civil Rights Movement. It is a short read, but Stafford works to provide as much detail into the lives of his characters as he can. You can find Dancing on Horses on sale through iUniverse.
Share your thoughts with us in the comments or on Twitter, @thenerdygirlexp. You can find me on Twitter, @kleffnotes, on my blog, kleffnotes.wordpress.com, on my kleffnotes YouTube channel, and I run The Nerdy Girl Express Snapchat, thenerdygirlexp.