I love horse books. I’m sure I’ve told you that before. I hadn’t read any for a long while (other than re-reading the Jill books and Black Beauty) until I read Krista Breen’s Dakotaroo series, and I leapt straight back into the genre. So when I was a little less enthused by this book, I must put it back into context. Would the 12-year old me have been enthused with it?
I’m not sure she would. It’s a well told story of a lovely grey mare called Silver, whose owner, Emma, has trained to a very high standard of haute ecole, to the stage where they can do caprioles. If this is double dutch to you, trust me, it’s good. Specialised. Emma is the daughter of a circus owner, so her particular talents are well-used to draw the crowds. She loves the circus, but the fates don’t, and the outcome is the looming decision by her father to sell up and say goodbye to the circus forever. But Emma has a winter job at a racing stable, where she has competed Silver in point-to-points in the past, so it isn’t too much of a big step for all involved (other than her father) to hatch a plan to win the big prizemoney in the local racecourse’s big race of the season. If she wins, the circus will be saved!
Is there no end to Silver’s talent? It seems not, although she sure doesn’t like being ridden like an ordinary racehorse. Not surprising really, since she hasn’t been brought up as one. I had a nagging dislike of this horse that could do absolutely everything. But I remember when I was 12 I had some imaginary horses of my own that were good enough to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup and an Olympic showjumping medal, so why can’t Silver save the day, winning one-day events, starring in the circus ring and winning the big steeplechase?
I think this book is an enjoyable and good example of the genre from its time – it was first published in the 1970s. But I feel that even in pony books, the characters these days need to be more three dimensional, less predictable and better imagined. I was disappointed at the lack of depth to the circus characters. They were described, but they didn’t take off as people. The near-boyfriend drops in and out like an afterthought. Maybe he was. Redundant character theory has him in line for a nasty end in a future version!
In short, this book didn’t grip me, although it was an enjoyable read, and I’m lucky to have had the opportunity to read it.
The Quicksilver Horse by Anne Digby
I won this book in a giveaway in the summer.