Saturday, 29 September 2007

Blind Beauty

An epic horse story the cover proclaimed! And epic it was, one of the most enjoyable books I have read for a while. Not since I read the Man From Snowy River I and II have I 'devoured' a book, as I did with this, I just couldn't wait to see what would happen next. It took a few chapters to really get going and get into this book, but once again K M Peyton proved what a fantastic author she is. Several of my books about her quote 'There are few born story tellers but K M Peyton is one of them' How true this is.

Initially I was not sure of Tessa and quite where she was going, but you couldn't help but warm to this mixed up young girl, how many real Tessa's are there pleading for help out there you wonder? As for Buffoon, the raw-boned and ugly TB, well everyone loves an underdog and the clever way his past and present were linked to Tessa, another under dog, was fantastically portrayed. I guess some people would liken this to both Free Rein (Last Ditch) and Darkling, and indeed it does have elements of both these wonderful stories - Battling against adversity and a difficult family life and the obvious comparison to Free Rein of running a horse in the National.
But unlike Free Rein we were taken on a journey with Tessa and Buffoon and shared the highs and lows and although somewhat predictable (or it would have been for any other author) and a little unbelievable I was willing Tessa and Buffoon to win and did hope for once a happy ending. Fortunately on this occasion K M Peyton did not disappoint. Not that she ever does but I like the fact her books are usually very realistic and not always happily ever after, in fact hardly any of her books end how one predicts which is why it was nice in this case that she chose to run with the predictable ending. After all Dogwood died trying, and this ending would not have been fitting to Buffoon; Jenny and Darkling part company at the end and even her younger books such as Swallow trilogy and Poor Badger do not have the ending you were expecting them to have.

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Can Anyone Help?

This is more of a plea than a post but can anyone help me. I was just chatting with my mum earlier and she reminded me of a book I loved as a young child. It was called Penny and Sue (i think), at least these were the characters. It was a green board picture book for younger readers. Penny's favourite pony was a skewbald called Pickle but one day she arrives at the stables and Sue is (shock, horror) grooming him. She tells Sue she 'Can't use those brushes or groom Pickle because she always does', to which Sue responds that she is riding him that lesson. Penny is relegated to boring old ? (Henry?) 'who's as big as a house, I'll never be able to mount him'.
Of course Penny wishes Pickle to be badly behaved and in true form Sue is deposited at a jump and breaks her arm. Penny haunted by remorse decides they can be friends and they agree to share Pickle. Happily ever after.
If anyone has any idea of Author and title, if it's not Penny and Sue, or knows of a copy please please contact me. Cheers

Sunday, 16 September 2007

Throw away society?

Back to work with a bang! Had little time to do anything as just can't get back into swing of things. I did however finish Heronsbrooke Gymkhana and can confirm a happy ending all round and the corners well and truly rubbed off the unpopular and stuck up one (every good pony book has one...think June Cresswell, Sarah Rook, Celia Grunter etc etc to name but a few).

I also found time to read K M Peytons High Horse Trilogy, which lead me to the title of this post. I am a great fan of K M Peytons work, especially her pony books, her books are beautifully written with believable and very real characters both human and equine. She is also not compelled to have a happy ever after ending and her books cover a wide range of subjects and ages. So many authors churn out the same but different time and time again, or 'borrow' a plot from several other books and chuck them in a blender (am I allowed to say that I wonder...well free speech and all that, I didn't mention any names did I ; )!
Back to Swallow books....At first when I realised the character was quite young I did wonder ( as I love her more grown up characters/books) but after a few pages I was hooked. Here is a book about a girl with a dream to own a pony, who yes does indeed get her dream pony. This is where it stops being like any other pony story of this subject as yes again she perseveres but to no avail. I though, ah yes but in Swallow Summer she will get there, but was wrong and was quite surprised by the twist the story took in Swallow The Star. I must say I was a little disappointed in how quickly Rowan got over the loss of Swallow and replaced him with Birdie but I guess this is a reflection of the throw away society we now live in and maybe how the author meant it to be perceived? I believe you offer a horse (indeed any animal) a home for life but sadly this is becoming less and less the case and the old cast off is quickly forgotten and replaced, as Swallow was. I guess K M Peyton was maybe also making the point that sometimes you have to realise a partnership is not going to work, however much you want it to and I guess there had to be consequences as the pony was not really ever Rowan's anyhow. For an author who deals with emotions and feelings so well usually i felt Rowan was a little cold and callous but maybe 12 year olds are? I wonder if there will be a spin off, so to speak, featuring Charlie, as I feel he is a character with great potential to fill another book or two.

Sunday, 2 September 2007

The Worst Pony Book Ever?

I have just read my first pony book and not enjoyed a single bit of it! Usually they have some sort of redeeming feature but not this one I'm afraid. The offending title A Pony For Belinda by Mary Gervaise. I just could not get into it at all...I didn't like Belinda, or her pet Blackbird....whoever would have a wild bird as a pet anyhow?......she was a thoroughly dislikable character and the story was a complete non starter. I had started Another Pony For Belinda, hoping it would be better but have given it up as a bad job after the first two chapters. I bought these and Belinda wins her Spurs on account of the lovely dust wrappers and it just goes to show...never judge a book by it's cover....maybe the originator of this saying had had the misfortune to come across Belinda too? I have not read the Georgie and Spot books yet so hope these are not dire too?

On the plus side I am now reading a lovely book by a lesser known but excellent pony author Catherine Harris. It's title is The Heronsbrooke Gymkhana. Quite different to many pony books as it centres around one day and is split into three parts - before the gymkhana, during and after, which i am yet to get to. Before we are introduced to some of the competitors and find out a little about them before they all come together with mixed fortunes at the Gymkhana. It is a voyage of discovery for several of them and until I get chance to read further am unsure of the outcomes but would imagine everyone lives happily ever after, which is more than Belinda would if I had my way.

Thanks for your comments by the way......I think posting is possible now but they are still not compatible between here and the other site but who cares anyway.