I haven't done a book review on the blog before, but now that I'm a train commuter I have a lot more time to get some reading done, and I've been trying to choose books with an equine related theme so I can share them with you. Which has led to me accidentally reading a few appallingly bad romance novels because they had horses on the cover (it's like a contest to see how many times "throbbing" and "glistening" can be used in a chapter), but I have finally found a book that I feel absolutely compelled to share with you.
The book is called Riders by Jilly Cooper. It was first published in England in 1985 so there's a good chance some of you may have read it already. If you haven't, however, GO AND GET IT. But make sure you don't have anything else important going on, because you won't be able to put it down. And then you won't want to finish it, because you won't want the story to end. I just finished reading it, and the characters are still swimming around in my head. And I want to know what they are up to now!
Riders follows several British show jumping stars through Nations Cups, World Games, and Olympic Games. The entire novel is infused with training, buying, selling, showing, and loving horses, and all the heartbreaks and triumphs that go along with that. There are also various and sundry affairs, of both types: hopelessly romantic and sinfully delicious. You'll be sighing and blushing throughout, I assure you. Not to mention spurring along through every triple combination and water jump.
The characters are alternately intense, gorgeous, heroic, misunderstood, tragically flawed, funny, relatable, sympathetic, despicable, and lovely. And if you are not madly in love with Rupert Campbell-Black within the first 100 pages, well, you are a stronger woman than I. Don't beat yourself up over it, he's impossible to resist. And don't worry, a few hundred pages later you'll be in love with Billy Lloyd-Foxe. You'll fall out of love eventually with him too, but that's what I love most about this novel. My sympathies were constantly shifting, sometimes it was impossible to decide who to root for. America? Great Britain? Jake? Rupert? Helen? Fen? Billy? Dino?
Anyway, if you haven't read this yet and you're looking for something truly enjoyable, pick this one up. A must-read for horse lovers, but definitely something a non-horse person would love as well.
Riders is available here.