Gretchen Kimball and Connie Wiley “Black Beauty” Book Party, Belvedere

Sixty residents of Belvedere and Tiburon and twenty from San Francisco crowded into Connie Wiley’s home on the Belvedere lagoon for a book party Connie and Gretchen Kimball gave to launch Paige Peterson and Jesse Kornbluth’s illustrated abridgment of “Black Beauty.”  This party had the feel of a reunion — many of these people had gathered two years ago to celebrate the launch of Paige and Jesse’s abridged edition of “A Christmas Carol.” The difference this time, as Cheryl Bronstein of Book Passage pointed out in her introduction, is the world, which is sadder and angrier and more in need of the kind of healing and optimism that Paige and Jesse deliver in these beautifully illustrated, tightly plotted abridgments. Heads nodded. Hands applauded. And at the end of the party, signed books were on their way to homes where children would meet a new friend — a horse that met every challenge… and triumphed.