I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Horse Dancer by Jojo Moyes
Narrator: Fiona Hardingham
Published by Penguin Audio on April 11, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Fiction
Length: 17 hours, 39 minutes
Source: the Publisher
Audio | Goodreads
A quintessential Jojo Moyes novel about a lost girl and her horse, the enduring strength of friendship, and how even the smallest choices can change everything
When Sarah’s grandfather gives her a beautiful horse named Boo—hoping that one day she’ll follow in his footsteps to join an elite French riding school, away from their gritty London neighborhood—she quietly trains in city’s parks and alleys. But then her grandfather falls ill, and Sarah must juggle horsemanship with school and hospital visits.
Natasha, a young lawyer, is reeling after her failed marriage: her professional judgment is being questioned, her new boyfriend is a let-down, and she’s forced to share her house with her charismatic ex-husband. Yet when the willful fourteen-year-old Sarah lands in her path, Natasha decides to take the girl under her wing.
But Sarah is keeping a secret—a secret that will change the lives of everyone involved forever.
I’m not a horse person but have always been fascinated by these magnificent animals and the people obsessed with them. One of the things that worked about this story is how you didn’t need to have background information to appreciate the world, conflicts and issues.
Henri Lachappelle was part of an elite French calvary skilled in an art form of dressage dating back over 250 years. He’s a widow living with his 14-year old granddaughter, Sarah, who he’s training to reach his skill level. They own a horse named Boo who is stabled in an urban area of London beneath railway arches. When Henri is suddenly hospitalized, Sarah finds herself alone until her path crosses Natasha Macauley, a solicitor advocate who takes her in, along with her estranged husband, Mac. The challenges that follow bring out the best and worst of all of them as they struggle to make their situation work.
Moyes crafts each of these characters so skillfully, showing all sides, boils and all. There are times when you want to throttle all of them but then later want to applaud them for what’s truly in their hearts. Natasha was the most challenging to embrace as she was adept at hiding her feelings, presenting most frequently a rather cool indifference. But typical of a Moyes character, what lay beneath that exterior was complex. What binds all of them together, however is Boo, the most fabulous horse who Sarah loves unconditionally.
Fiona Hardingham is outstanding in her narration, providing each character with his and her own distinctive voice and personality while communicating a difficult story. She made the words leap from the pages, creating vivid images of setting, the quirky folks in Henri and Sarah’s world and, of course Boo.
I really enjoyed this story, despite some situations that stretched the limits of credulity (who doesn’t notice a horse traveling from London to France through the streets?). It’s a good tale with great characterizations and I’m glad I opted to listen versus read.
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