Cover by Tim Jessel

Lara’s Gift

Alfred A. Knopf / Penguin Random House, 2013

“Powerful and Engrossing!”
—KIRKUS, Starred Review

“Compelling historical fiction … a powerful story about the bond between dogs and humans, fathers and daughters.”
—School Library Journal, Starred Review

From the jacket flap of Lara’s Gift:

Young Lara is being groomed in the family tradition to take over as Count Vorontsov’s next kennel steward, breeding borzoi dogs worthy of the Tsar. But when Lara’s baby brother is born, she finds herself supplanted as her father decides to make her brother the next kennel steward. Lara has a special gift of understanding these incredible dogs—a gift that her father eyes with fear and superstition. Can Lara convince him to let her fulfill her destiny with the noble borzoi? And can she save her favorite dog, Zar, and the rest of the borzoi from a hungry pack of wolves threatening life on the estate?

Set in Imperial Russia, full of color and authenticity, this is a powerful story of one girl’s love for her dog—and her desire to fulfill her prophetic dreams and destiny.

Click here for the story behind Lara’s Gift.


California Book Award Finalist
Northern California Book Award Finalist
SCBWI Crystal Kite Award Finalist
2014 Hawaii’s Nene Award Book List
2015 Hawaii’s Nene Award Book List

“Dog lovers especially will pick up this trail right away and eagerly track the appealing heroine’s adventures.”

“A gift to anyone who loves adventure, a good story, and, above all, a beloved dog.”
Kathi Appelt, Newbery Medal author of The Underneath

“Wrapped in the rich tapestry of Imperial Russia, Annemarie O’Brien has crafted a timeless tale celebrating the unbreakable bond between dogs and their people. A must-read for history lovers and dog lovers alike!”
Bobbie Pyron, author of The Dogs of Winter and A Dog’s Way Home


The Book Trailer:

YouTube Preview Image
All materials © 2015 Annemarie O'Brien. Web site by Websy Daisy. Illustration © 2013 by Tim Jessell