Saturday, 8 December 2007

Review: DIANA - Riding With The Lyntons

Riding With The Lyntons is this week's book. It was first published in 1956, making it one of Diana's earlier books.

The blurb reads:-

Suddenly we heard blaring car horns and the screech of brakes. Then the two ponies came clattering towards us down the wrong side of the road. The oncoming car didn't have a chance. Tyres skidded on the wet surface, there was a shrill whinny and then a dreadful, sickening silence...

Lesley can hardly believe her luck when she moves to the country and makes friends with the horse-mad Lyntons. But then she's blamed for the accident that ruins it all...

In some ways this book reminds me of last week's book Horses At Home & Friends Must Part, which is not surprising, as that book was Diana's last publication prior to this one. I guess that theme must have been fresh in her mind.

Like most of Diana's books, this one does have a morbid side to it, and it is certainly the most morbid of hers. It's not a cosy read. But don't let that put you off reading it, it is certainly worth taking a look at. The Armada edition is the easier copy to find, but it's not the easiest of books. A quick note: any edition published after 1982 has been revised. That particular Armada edition shown above does have quite a few illustrations: illustrator is uncredited. However I strongly suspect that they are the original which makes them by Sheila Rose.

The main element to this book is stated by the blurb and unlike the other books, it is not worth me going over it, as the best bits are above. However, it is wonderfully descriptive, the whole book is told by Lesley's point of view on everything. However, unlike The Pennyfields it is not boring. I feel it is slow to start, but worth it.

There is one tiny point that annoys me greatly; in the beginning (before Lesley discovers the Lyntons) when Lesley complains that she is bored (naturally being in a new area she doesnt know anyone), her dad calls her "a wretched little socialite". I think that it is highly unfair, as she didnt ask for her to move, and secondly it is not her fault she doesnt knows anyone. Thirdly, I feel it is down right nasty for her parents to call her that, and could be bordering on emotional abuse (perhaps in the 1950s it was acceptable for parents to call you names) and fourthly, living in the country is not everyone's idea of brilliance. Some people hate living in the country.

Like the Boy and the Donkey I feel it is better appreciated from an adult's point of view rather than a child's, and certainly not every single child is not comfortable with the death. Even for me, it threw me a little. It is more of an examinations of friendships and relationships with people, but done in a lovely, if somewhat morbid way. Not the most appealing of books in the whole; but again, I feel it is one of Diana's best.

Next week is the final Diana review for quite a while: it is The Long Ride Home. Two weeks time should see the start of Josephine.


Jane said...

This has always been one of my favourite DPTs - possibly as it's one of the first pony books I ever owned. I did get very swept up in the drama and awfulness of it all, and the moment when the Lyntons appear, having forgiven all, is lovely.