Wednesday, February 9, 2011
BOOK REVIEW : "The Horse Dancer", by Jojo Moyes (Hodder)
I’m reading a wonderful book. It’s called “The Horse Dancer”, by an English author called Jojo Moyes. This is the first book I’ve read by this author, and I’d never even heard of her until I randomly stumbled across this particular book while browsing the Internet for literary gifts just before Christmas. The story appealed, so I clicked and bought it.
I’m so glad I did. It’s been ages since I read a book with a horse theme, and this one has hooked me so intensely that I find myself checking my watch at 9 pm, wondering whether it would be kind of sad for me to go to bed at such an early hour. I mean, I am knitting a lot lately, so I don’t want to push the sad factor too far. Thing is, these “sad” activities make me happy! Sign of the times, eh?!
There have been evenings when I’ve resisted the call of “The Horse Dancer”, instead plonking myself in front of the television to watch daft stuff such as “American Idol”, or upsetting stuff such as the news, only to regret it later when, suddenly, it’s gone one o’clock in the morning and I’m still reading away under the duvet, utterly immersed in this book and having to force myself to turn off the light.
Set mostly in London, “The Horse Dancer” is the heart-wrenching story of fourteen-year-old Sarah, whose world falls apart when the grandfather who raised her and whom she loves so much has a stroke and winds up in hospital. As a young man, Sarah’s grandfather, Henri Lachapelle, had been a member of Le Cadre Noir de Saumur, the famous French military dressage academy. Sarah has inherited his passion for horses and lives for the time she spends riding Boo, the beautiful, talented selle français (French Warmblood) her grandfather bought her. Money is short and Boo is stabled in a rundown backstreet yard in a dodgy area of London without any riding facilities, so Sarah and her grandfather train in a quiet corner of a nearby park. Sarah’s dream is to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps and ride for the Cadre Noir.
But when her grandfather becomes ill, Sarah finds herself living alone, fending for herself, scrambling to find ways to pay for horse’s keep, juggling between finding time for school and training her horse. Destiny sets her in the path of Natasha Macauley, a young lawyer who deals with problem children, and whose life is also in turmoil. Natasha’s professional judgment is being called into question, her boyfriend is repeatedly letting her down, and circumstances soon force her to share her house with her soon to be ex-husband, the gorgeous, charismatic Mac. When Natasha decides to take Sarah under her wing, she has no idea how complicated her life is about to become. NO idea!
“The Horse Dancer” is a captivating read, a real romantic page turner with interesting, original characters and an exciting story line. In some ways it reminds me of one of my favorite horse films, “International Velvet” (in fact Tatum O’Neal’s character in the film was also called Sarah!), and I keep thinking what a wonderful movie this book would make. So if you’re looking for a deeply satisfying story to snuggle up with under the duvet, I highly recommend it.
I’ll have finished it soon, and will be sad when I have, so can anyone recommend another really good book?