Churchminster village - picturesque, quaint, sleepy - OR NOT... A place where women know exactly what they want, and it's not cream tea with the vicar. A place where anything can happen . . . so be careful what you wish for. And a place where the men had better behave . . . because the ladies won't take it lying down (well, not unless they want to!)
I've read all but one of Jo Carnegie's Churchminster series and really enjoyed them. I have to admit the last one wasn't the best, but when I received a copy of Horse Play for review, I was really hoping that it'd be back up to the standards of the other books, and luckily Jo Carnegie really didn't let me down! I also like her new cover look, with the bold photography making the book stand out far more and it has a bit of a fun look to it as well. Although it's book 5 of a series, you could also read this without having read the previous 4 novels, you just won't know some of the background although the important bits about the characters are explained as you go along! So why should you pick up a copy of Horse Play?
The book contains many characters as most of the Churchminster villagers make a comeback of sorts in this book, even if its just a brief mention. The main ones from previous books are sisters Caro and Calypso, both wildly different but equally fun to read about, Angie and Freddie who own a big house and horses, and of course the lovely Granny Clem. We are introduced to a few new characters in the book, Kizzy, a young girl who works for Angie and Freddie, and Javier, a former Olympic dressage rider and object of Kizzy's affections. These new characters blended in perfectly with those of old, and I really did like Kizzy, despite her naivety somewhat towards Javier and things like that. Kizzy and Javier's story, which does take some surprising twists and turns is one of the main focuses of the story, together with Kizzy's loves of horses. Caro had her own storyline too, to do with her hideous ex-husband and son Milo, I found it quite hard to read and get to grips with, I think every mum dreads being in Caro's position here but I felt Carnegie handled it very well and it moved with a good pace in the book too.
I'm not a massive fan of horses if I'm honest, they freak me out a bit as they're huge and you just don't know what they're thinking behind those eyes but since this book really focus on them, I had to put my dislike behind me and plough on. However, I found the horsey bits really enjoyable, and there wasn't anything too technical in there, in fact I really liked the detail about the horse riding and Kizzy's experience with the horse and Ed, the rider too. It was funny to see Carnegie write about the racecourse which my garden looks over too, I wish there was a little more about Newbury racecourse in there but it was fun reading it in a book for sure! You don't have to be a horsey person to understand these bits either, and what you don't understand obviously isn't hugely important anyway!
This book is full of fun, laughs, sex and living in the countryside, and it's a complete joy to read about from start to finish. Yes, there's lots of characters to keep track of, but once you've got them all down, it's easy peasy to follow as they are all so different. There are also lots of different stories going on too, from the fun horsey story involving Kizzy, the Fox-Titts and Javier, and then Caro's family dramas, and Calypso's life dramas too! There's some raunchy sex scenes, lots of laugh out loud funny moments and just a bit of everything for everyone really. You'll really love this if you've enjoyed the rest of the Churchminster series so far, but if you haven't yet experienced Churchminster, this would certainly be a great place to start! I enjoyed every page and didn't want to leave the residents of Churchminster once more... I can't wait for the next one!
ISBN: 978-0552160889. Published by Corgi on 19th January 2012. Pages: 608. RRP: £6.99. Also available as an eBook.
Thank you to the publishers for sending me a copy to review for http://chicklitchloe.blogspot.com.
Thank you for reading.