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An extraordinary feat of storytelling, the three novels that make up the West Country Trilogy will take readers on a journey from the agricultural world at the turn of the century, through to the devastation and upheaval of the First World War – an event that will transform not only the lives of Lottie and Leo, but also the fate of a nation. Lovereading comment to follow soon.
This begins The West Country Trilogy starting in 1911. It follows two years in the life of young Leo as he skips school as often as he can to help his father, brothers and cousin on one of the six farms on Lord Grenvil’s land. This is the time of the horse, long before tractors. Young Leo, although encountering pigs and cattle, is very much the horseman of the title and as he learns so, too, do we. In fact early on nearly four pages are devoted to the art of grooming. There are long sections on ploughing and horse maintenance, farming and shooting, all slow, detailed and full of country lore. At its centre is the social difference of two children who become friends through the love of horses, a friendship that is sadly misinterpreted. This is elegant, evocative prose with the change of seasons flowing gently through a tale spotted with tragedy and drama. ~ Sarah Broadhurst