What’s it all about?:
Sarah’s grandfather was a horseman of rare talent – only the exceptional are allowed into France’s elite riding academy, Le Cadre Noir. But life took an unexpected turn, and now from a council estate in east London, the Captain hopes to train his granddaughter towards a better life.
Natasha is a lawyer whose job is to represent the best interests of children. Her confidence in her judgement has been shaken and her marriage has died – but an encounter with Sarah may lead to Natasha learning all she needs to know about life from a fourteen-year-old girl and a large horse named Boo.
What did I think?:
In my quest to read one of my favourite authors back catalogue, The Horse Dancer was next on the list and, I have to be honest, was a book I was quite wary about reading. I’m not really a “horsey” kind of girl although I love animals but rest assured, you don’t have to know a whole lot about horses to appreciate this lovely, uplifting novel. As with many of Jojo’s books we have two stories running concurrently and we hear the points of view of many of the main characters alternately. The first story is about Natasha and her soon to be ex-husband Mac. They are in the process of getting a divorce and are attempting to sort out their house and other financial issues when their paths cross with Sarah.
Sarah is a fourteen year old girl who has two major loves in her life. The first is her beloved grandfather, Henri whom she lives with and at one time was a professional rider for the prestigious Le Cadre Noir, a French dressage academy but he gave it all up to come to England to marry the love of his life. Sarah’s second love is her horse Boo who she spends all of her available time with at his stables, owned by one of her grandfather’s oldest friends, Cowboy John. Her dream is to follow in the grandfather’s footsteps and ride with Le Cadre Noir in Saumur but when something terrible happens to Henri she is thrust into a catastrophic situation that is not only dangerous for her but may lead to her losing her best friend Boo forever.
That’s all I really want to say about the plot but believe me, there are so many twists and turns to this narrative that I was compelled to keep reading page after page, desperate to find out what happened to Sarah and Boo. Sarah is a beautifully drawn character that I instantly felt so much for, especially when her situation in life becomes so dire that she is forced into making drastic and potentially life-altering decisions. I did enjoy the story of Natasha and Mac but it only started getting really interesting when Sarah entered their lives. Natasha presents as quite a cold person in contrast to her happy-go-lucky, easy-going ex-husband but I think she was the one character of the novel that underwent the most change and it was a fascinating journey to experience for me as a reader. There are also some action-packed, heart-stopping sequences I wasn’t expecting which involve a horse ride/chase through central London that may not be entirely believable to some readers but which I loved. I certainly didn’t anticipate enjoying this novel as much as I did and I think fans of Jojo Moyes work will feel the same. If you’re one of those “horsey” girls I mentioned earlier? Well, there’s a real treat in store for you!
Would I recommend it?:
But of course!
Star rating (out of 5):
NEXT JOJO MOYES READ: The Last Letter From Your Lover – coming soon!
Le Cadre Noir de Saumur – c’est magnifique!
Image from: http://www.lacavalieremasquee.com/le-cadre-noir-de-saumur/