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Saturday, 3 September 2016

Jojo Moyes - the Horse Dancer

 review written and read live on the bookshow by Ro Bennett Aug 2016.

I started to listen to this book on the library One click audio but ended up buying it as well. For me it was a gripping and emotional story. I felt really involved with all the characters and their heartaches, struggles and successes. 

At first the reader is introduced to Henri Lachappelle who was a highly talented horseman who trained at Le Cadre Noir, an exclusive French riding school, dedicated to the finest horsemanship. I Googled Le Cadre Noir and watched some Youtube videos of horses performing there and it is amazing. Henri is a grand father now and caring for his grand daughter Sarah. They are living in a rather deprived London council estate and in an effort to protect his granddaughter from the crime that surrounds them, Henri has bought a horse for Sarah. Not any old pony, but a fantastic Selle Francaise called Boo. He is teaching her all the skills he acquired fifty years previously. Sarah shares his love for horses and has inherited his talent. As the story unfolds the reader learns just why Henri is living in poverty so far from home and as sole carer of his grand daughter. Then disaster strikes and fourteen-year-old Sarah is left to fend for herself…

Enter successful lawyer Natasha Macauley who is in the process of divorcing her husband Mac. The situation is strained as they are still having to share a house.  Fate throws  Natasha and Sarah together, but a brittle, tense woman and a lonely, hurt, confused and angry teenager don’t make for a harmonious relationship. Especially since Sarah appears to be a delinquent who skives off school, lies, steals and puts herself in hazardous situations in order to protect a carefully guarded secret. 

I was drawn into the emotions of this book. My heart was in my mouth as Sarah was drawn deeper and deeper into a web of petty crime, deception and danger. It looked more and more unlikely that she would be able to extricate herself without lasting damage and harm and I was longing for her to tell Natasha what was going on and ask for help. But Sarah didn’t trust anyone, least of all exasperated Natasha. 

I could empathise with Natasha’s sense of betrayal and anger and hurt and her feeling of being completely out of her depth, not knowing what to do for the best and feeling totally inadequate and a complete failure despite her best efforts. The situation looked increasingly hopeless as the wedge between them kept growing. 

The book was full of suspense but wasn’t all gloom and doom. There were heart warming aspects which balanced it and kept me turning the pages. This is the sort of book that I will remember. Excellent book, highly recommended!

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