Cavanna, Betty

About the author

Betty Cavanna (Elizabeth Allen Cavanna, 1901–2001) was born in New Jersey. She suffered polio as a child, but managed to overcome its effects with exercise and treatment. After going to the New Jersey College for Women to study journalism, she had a job as a reporter for the Bayonne Times from 1929–31. She then joined the Westminster Press as art director and advertising manager. In 1941, she became a full time writer, and wrote many books aimed at young teenage girls. Amongst her works were children’s mysteries (for which she received Edgar awards), teen romances, dog books, and a few pony books. Two of her titles, Spring Comes Riding and Spurs for Suzanna were printed in the UK by Lutterworth. The other titles only had US printings.

Finding the books
Spurs for Suzanna and Spring Comes Riding were both published in the UK, and are reasonably affordable here. In the USA, Banner Year is very cheap and easy to find as a paperback, and reasonably affordable in hardback. Lasso Your Heart is affordable as an ex-library copy, and Spurs for Suzanna and Spring Comes Riding are both easily findable. Wanted – a Girl for the Horses is easy to find, and cheap.

Links and sources
Betty Cavanna’s papers are held by the University of Southern Mississippi; the de Grummond collection.
She wrote the Connie Blair mystery series under the pseudonym Betsy Allan, and this link on series provides more information on the series.
Many thanks to Susan Bourgeau and Lisa Catz for all their help with this page.

Bibliography (horse books only)

Spurs for Suzanna

Westminster, Philadelphia, 1947, (left), illus Virginia Mann
Junior Literary Guild, possibly 1947
Lutterworth, Guildford, 1948, illus Stanley Lloyd

Sue thinks she loves horses and the country, and is delighted when she is invited to High Acres Farm. Alas, she can’t seem to do
anything right, and the more she tries, the worse it gets. She is especially scared of jumping, but one day decides to conquer
her fear. 

Spring Comes Riding

Westminster, Philadelphia, 1950, cover art uncredited
Lutterworth, Guildford, 1952

Meg feels she’s the odd one out: good with horses, but not people. She feels inferior next to her pretty, charming, sister Joanna, and Joanna brooks no interference or rivalry from Meg when it comes to men, or anything else either. Eventually Meg learns that Joanna is as she is, and that she isn’t the only one
who sees the truth about Joanna.

Lasso Your Heart

Westminster, Philadelphia, 1952, cover art Harold Minton
Book Club edition

Prue has to leave her mare Feather near her foaling time in order to attend her cousin Cissy’s big party, but she decides that she is glad that she is getting better acquainted with Cissy and her friends.

Wanted, a Girl for the Horses

Morrow, New York, 1984

When Charlotte is asked to leave her private boarding school, she takes the unusual job of girl groom with an elderly couple who used to be rich, but are now barely making ends meet.

Banner Year

William Morrow 1987, cover art Jon Weiman
Troll, pb, 1988

Cindy loves horses and only horses. At least that’s what she things, until she starts her sophomore year on Martha’s Vineyard. She meets a new boy at the farm where she works with a black horse. His name is Tad, and he makes Cindy think again.