Monday, 30 September 2019

Review: CHRISTINE - The Horse Sale

The Horse Sale was first published in 1960, the same year as Ride By Night. The image to the left is of the first edition, which contains lovely drawings by Sheila Rose. This cover by many is considered to be one of the finest covers that Christine's ever had. Although it has been republished, to me, the two subsequent republications are not as good as this one.

The blurb reads:-

HORSE SALE: April 20th: Wetford Market.

What was the real meaning of this notice and who was going to be affected by it? Olga found to her horror that her beloved gelding Crusoe would have to go; how could she live without him? And the Riding School decided to send it's newest horse, Jupiter. But apart from the inevitable buying and selling what was special about this sale on April 20th? What it to be a day only of broken hearts and empty paddocks?

"Everyone seems to be here," thought Olga, as she gazed at Crusoe for what was probably the last time. And everybody was there - some to buy, some to sell and some to watch. And the outcome...Well Christine Pullein-Thompson surprises us all at the last moment, and you are sure to be amazed at what happens at the end of that extraordinary day.

It is told from the perspective of several characters all of which are going to be heavily effected by the sale. The majority of the characters do not want the sale as the effects are negative on their lives. But Christine has done a few characters whose sale is a positive one. It's a wonderful telling of yin and yang for every negative there is a positive.

There's 12 chapters in my edition which is the first edition. The first chapter sets out the characters of the story which is well written and sets the scene. The majority of the story is all about the preparation of the characters for the sale which is as equally well written. The last few chapters are taken up with the sale and it's effects on the characters concerned both during and after the sale.

It's one of Christine's best works. It's one that explores relationships both horse and human but mostly human. Like all good books everything works out ok in the end but not in a predictable way. The only thing that dates it is one character tries to sell a fridge these days it wouldn't work as due to the way modern life is people wouldn't survive without at the very least a fridge. But we can forgive this little foible.

If you aren't bothered about edition this book isnt terribly hard to find. I urge you to try and read this for the description of characters makes it well worth reading.