a picture of the author

"The Longest Trail" by Roni McFadden is a coming of age "true life novel" that tells the story of the young teen Roni during the 1960s. She is headed down a dubious life path, which so many of us were during the 60s, until she meets a "cowboy mentor" that changes her life through her love of horses, and his belief in her. This book can be read on many levels: a coming of age story; horse lovers will enjoy her stories of the many horses she cared for; her adventures packing by horse into the Sierra, Big Sur and other wilderness areas of California; and just read as a memoir. I was moved emotionally by many passages, and by her resilance and growth. The book is well written, and the author grabs the reader from the first page. You want to continue reading so you can know this young woman and the future path she took in life. Both young adult and adult readers will enjoy and identify with her journey. If you love horses, memiors and just a plain good story, this is a book for you.
Diane H.


This coming-of-age story set in the 1960s and 70s, tells the story of Roni - a fatherless, confused young teen in Southern California - who is rapidly heading down a bad path. The one consistently good thing in her life are her horses and the friends she makes through them. When she meets a man who seems to be a throwback to the old days of the cowboys, she allows him to show her a new trail; a trail to confidence, maturity and a whole new future that she had never even considered was there.
Written as a tale that Roni as an adult is telling her grandchildren, this story is rich with adventure, humor, tragedy and revelations. Full of memorable characters - human, equine, canine and spirit-- and surrounded with the glorious high desert scenery of the Wilderness pack station where Roni lives alone for a winter, I greatly enjoyed traveling along with the author as she made her way up that Longest Trail. Highly Recommended!
D. Eraldi.


While some people may see this as a horse book, I see this as a great recollection of a young girls journey into adulthood. The author made each chapter a story, with gripping stories throughout! Great job and a GREAT read! This would be a very good book for everyone who believe that good always triumphs when a person has the willpower!
Thomas Allman


It took over forty years for me to discover Roni McFadden even though we both grew up in Altadena, CA and attended the same schools. Because we both love horses, and now are writers, at last a mutual friend recently connected us.
She made me aware of the activities that took place on Altadena's west side where John Slaughter's stable was located. I had heard of him but was busy riding horses in Eaton Canyon on the east side of Altadena, close yet our paths never crossed back then.
I felt a true kinship to Roni after reading "The Longest Trail." Throughout the years she writes about, I was riding the Tevis Cup 100-Mile Ride across the Western slope of the Sierra Nevada mountains as she was on the Eastern slope immersed in experiences in this wonderful book. The history of the Owens Valley is mighty and she weaves the dreamtime sequences while visiting the Grandfathers and their people through the story beautifully.
A prominent message in this book, especially for young women, is to never give away your power and always believe in yourself... no matter what! To become involved with something much larger than your self remains to be one of the best life lessons to help one grow. Horses, emphatically, guarantee that lesson.
Bravo for you Roni, you have a wonderful story in "The Longest Trail - A True Life Novel."
Shannon Well.


I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story (based on fact) about a young girl's (the author) adventures. Anyone who loves horses with truly enjoy reading this.
Mary Tucker.


Roni McFadden was my next door neighbor for a couple of years and is still a friend, but I'm amazed at what I didn't know about her! I was hooked from the very beginning through the very end. It's a good read on many levels: some history, some romance, some hurt, some ideas that make you think "outside the box", and obviously a lot of love of people and place. Thanks!
Barb Woodward.


WHEN I READ the review copy blurb of Roni McFadden's memoir called "The Longest Trail, a true life novel," it said I was in for a "coming-of-age tale in a magnificent setting." I tried to remember the last time I read anything even remotely comparable. Johnny Tremaine? Misty of Chincoteague? I would have been about ten, and I remember the two books fondly, but I haven't read anything from the now-huge teen girl genre. Ever. And reading a book about a young girl and horses in my maturity if not dotage? Not to be too much of an oinker about it, I did not look forward to the experience. "Hmmm," I thought, "a kind of prose chick flick." But having admired Ms. McFadden's devotion to the well-being of these magnificent creatures back when I was covering the Denoyer case -- suspected murderer and horse torturer -- I started to read and darned if I wasn't captured, captivated even, by Ms. McFadden's story of how she saved herself from falling into the often irritreivable teen abyss of drugs and self-destructive behavior by her early affinity for horses, an affinity she was able to convert to a way of life pursued to this day near Willits. There's a lot of interesting stuff in this book about everything from pack trips into the Sierras to the transportation of horses, all of it told in a clear prose that moves right along. The Longest Trail gets both thumbs up from the AVA and can be found in any local book store."
Bruce Anderson.


I thoroughly enjoyed reading this memoir of a young girl's work with horses at the pack station. Fun stories, exciting adventures, and spiritual awakenings with the original people of that land. If you want a good book about horses, and coming of age, you won't be disappointed with this book.
Sheila.


I really enjoyed this book. I opened it one evening for my evening's relaxation and read thru the night, I couldn't put it down.
I could see a bit of myself in Roni's words, she has some wonderful memories.
I found the Facebook page and there are some great photographs - Enjoy!
Boxershiner.


Very thoughtful and well written. Will make you giggle, laugh out loud, cry and most of all appreciate a zest for life and nature.
Nina.


Love this book. A true life story of a young woman who overcomes so many obstacles in a positive way. A MUST READ for all who want to be inspired to keep moving onward and upwards in life.
Judi Kline.


I throughly enjoyed this book. Coming of age books are not my thing but this book went well beyond that. Retelling the entire story in my review will take the fun away so just let me say it has wonderful characters, action, horses, good guys and bad guys. What more can you ask?
Janice Wilkes.