I love Jilly Cooper's Rutshire Chronicles. This is the third book in the series and one of my favourites (my favourite does seem to change depending on which one I am reading for the umpteenth time!) Polo is centred around Perdita who is a very lost girl who seems to think she is owed something by the world, (and her poor mother Daisy). You may think she sounds an unlikable protagonist but, as is often the case in Jilly's bonkbusters, she comes good in the end and you find yourself really routing for her.
Like all her books in the series the underlying themes in this book are love and determination. The book is set in numerous countries in the world, and each setting is more glamourous than the last. I have to admit I have never been to a polo match and knew nothing about the sport. The matches, the setting, the blood, sweat and tears of the game are explained so simply but in such detail that you imagine you really were there.
Of course the best thing about this book are the characters; from firm favourite Rupert Campbel-Black, sweet Taggie, dependable Luke Alderton, the super sexy Red Alderton, Angel, Drew Benedict, the shy Ricky France-Lynch and the Carlisle twins (to name a mere few) you feel like you really know these people. And I for one wish I was part of their world!
'Polo' is the third book in the Jilly Cooper bonkbuster series. It links in with the books 'Riders' and 'Rivals' (both of which I've previously reviewed), although it doesn't exactly follow on from them as a sequel does. It starts during 'Riders' and finishes about two years after 'Rivals' ends.
Although this means that you're reading about things that you've already read about in the other two books, Cooper puts a different angle on everything so you don't get bored.
This book brings in new characters, namely Ricky France-Lynch. He's a polo player who endures a horrific injury which coincides with his wife leaving him for a polo rival, Bart Alderton. The event that causes his injury also gets him put into jail for a year, where he meets Dancer Maitland who's a rock/pop star who falls for Ricky.
When they both come out of prison, Dancer forms a polo team, in the knowledge that Chessie (Ricky's ex-wife) has taunted him that she'll only come back to him if he goes to 10 (the highest handicap a polo player can get) and wins the Westchester and the Gold cup, both of which are polo competitions. He persuades Perdita McCleod to play for the team. She's a schoolgirl who has the biggest crush on Ricky.
Along the way, the reader meets the various characters that link in with the story, such as Luke and Red Alderton (Bart's sons), Daisy (Perdita's mother), Angel (a Mirage pilot who was caught and tortured in the Falklands) and Drew Benedict (the army officer who tortured him). There are also more familiar characters such as Rupert Campbell-Black, Seb and Dommie Carlisle and Billy Lloyd-Fox.
The book takes you from rural England to Argentina and to the polo fields of Palm Beach, which are all described so well that you could almost be there!
There are quite a lot of references to the actual game of polo in the book (as you might imagine!) although for me it didn't detract from the story at all. I knew nothing about polo before starting this book and Cooper does explain some of the more pertinent rules in her preface.
All this makes for an exciting plot which fairly bounces along. I found it to be a much better read than 'Rivals' and on a level with 'Riders'. You get much more involved with the characters and Cooper also makes you feel for the animals too, from a very early stage in the book. Because of the exciting plot, it's a very fast read, which means that you'll soon be looking for the next book in the series!
** THE STORY **
The plotline of Polo heads off in so many different directions that it would be difficult to explain the gist of the story in just one paragraph.
It opens with spoilt schoolgirl Perdita Macleod escaping from an exam to watch a local polo match, where we are quickly introduced to the other main players in Polo (forgive the pun) Ricky France-Lynch, Drew Benedict and Bart Alderton, and other favourites such as Seb and Dommie Carlisle (better know as the Heavenly Twins) and Basil Baddingham. And watching from the sidelines are plenty of wives and mistresses.
In fact, there are so many characters in Polo that there is actually a list at the beginning of the book detailing who is who - even the animals get a mention here!
Whilst the storyline mostly follows obnoxious Perdita in her quest to become the world's best woman polo player, there is plenty of other stuff happening along the way. We jump from person to person and place to place following the uber-posh game of polo - from the green idyll of the English countryside to the wide open spaces of Argentina to the abode of the mega-rich, Palm Beach - seeing how the 'other half' live.
Polo is chock full of sex and scandal - cuckolded husbands, unfaithful wives, affaires galore - and of course plenty of horseback action in the form of polo.
There's a vengeful Argentinean pilot out to murder the Army Captain who cruelly tortured his brother, a ditzy recently-singly artist who is looking for love from a man and from her obnoxious daughter who was conceived drunken 60's orgy, a heartbroken polo player who loses his son in a horrible accident when his wife is spirited away by American billionaire and who's only glimmer of hope of getting her back is the completion of three Herculean tasks.
It really is non-stop right until the very last page!
** WHAT THE CRITICS SAID **
Daily Mail - "Polo is the best thing she's ever done"
The Times - "Compulsively readable and funny...the irrepressible Jilly remains irresistible"
Evening Standard - "A work of towering genius"
** A BIT ABOUT THE CHARACTERS **
There are so many that I could never go through them all, so I have just included the most memorable.
Perdita Macleod - wants to play 'high goal' polo and marry a billionaire, suffers from lost little girl syndrome which makes her a real bitch to nearly everyone.
Daisy Macleod - doesn't have a bad bone in her body, embarks on a sordid affaire with a married Army Captain to feel loved and wanted again.
Ricky France-Lynch - eats, sleeps and breathes polo, neglecting his gorgeous but vicious wife.
Chessie France-Lynch - sleeps with other men, spends like money is going out of fashion and spends her life bitching about everyone else.
Dancer Maitland - mega-rich Cockney gay superstar, falls in love with Ricky whilst in prison and wants to become a polo player, despite never having been on a horse in his life
Bart Alderton - owner of Alderton Airlines, highly competitive in everything including polo and sex, likes to sleep with other men's wives.
Red Alderton - super sexy polo god with a huge female following, can never be trusted with anything, whether it be polo patron or his brother's girlfriend.
Luke Alderton - steady and easy going, wants to make it on his own without his father's money, falls in love with a woman who wants more than he can give her.
Angel Solis de Gonzales - sultry Argentinean stud with an agenda, desperate to get to England to meet up with an 'old friend'.
** A BIT ABOUT JILLY **
Jilly Cooper was born on the 21st February 1937 in Hornchurch, Essex. Brought up in Ilkley, she attended Godolphin School in Salisbury. She married publisher Leo Cooper in 1961 and had two children, Felix and Emily. In 1982 she moved to Cotswolds area in Gloucestershire to an old house, where she lives to this day.
Her writing career began in 1956 and she wrote for various newspapers and womens magazines for a number of years. Her first book, 'How to Stay Married', was published in 1969. Since then she has written or helped to compile 39 books, both factual and fictional.
** OTHER STUFF **
Polo is available online and in most high street bookstores. It usually retails at about £6.99.
Paperback: 768 pages (June 2003)
Publisher: Corgi Adult
** WHAT I THINK **
This book was my first Jilly Cooper novel. I read it when I was just fourteen, which was probably not the best age to read such a sexually graphic story, but I was going through my 'horsey' period and my mum didn't seem to mind. It took me two minutes and I was hooked! I loved this book so much that I have re-read it several times over the years.
The centre point around which all the plot lines unfold is obviously the game of polo, which was my initial reason for picking this book up. However, there is so much more involved - there's the classic love story with plenty of "will they, won't they" moments, stories of betrayal, a look into the life of the super rich, plenty of horses and great descriptions (and explanations of the rules) of the competitive sport of polo. I loved every minute of it.
This is what you might usually refer to as a 'bonkbuster' but don't let this put you off if you are not usually a fan of womens literature as the story has lashings of polo and humour which make it stand apart from the usual 'girl meets boy' storyline. I hate 'chick lit' with a passion, so was pleased to find Polo far surpasses the usual easy reading books on the market.
Usually in a book with so many different characters you would get lost as to who is who, but Jilly has managed to make her each of her characters so memorable that you remember someone chapters later. As you read more of Jilly's work you will realise that she not only manages this in one book, but over the rest of her work as well before long you will be snapping up Riders and Rivals looking for a mention of your favourite characters! It really is an amazing how she manages to weave so many different storylines amongst so many different books.
One of the things I love about Jilly's writing is that it is rife with double-entendres and puns; Polo had me in stitches of laughter so many times.
But what about the sex scenes, I hear you say. Well actually there isn't too much graphic description of the actual act of intercourse you know those squidgy bits that either make you cringe and go red or excite you immensely (if you are a teenage boy)! There are plenty of references to sex in all its forms and plenty of language with strong sexual meaning, but very little occurrences of actual sexual intercourse.
I would like to thoroughly recommend this book to anybody and everybody, although obviously not at those younger readers who have yet to discover the joys of sex. It doesn't try to be something it is not, the language is simple and the plot and writing flow in great style from beginning to end.
Five out of five!!!
** LIKED THIS BOOK? TRY THESE **
The Man Who Made Husbands Jealous
Another book review from the keyboard and mind of ‘idodoyou’. So sit back, relax, enjoy and comment if yoo wanna ……… ???? ***HOW COMES I’VE GOT IT?*** After reading my most, most-est favourite book in the whole wide world of books, Riders, to go on and sample more of Jilly Coopers work seemed the most natural thing to doo. And so sample I did. Disappointment was not a feeling I experienced when the sampling came to an unfortunate end. In my top 10 list of book, of which I am bound to get round to op-ing on at some point, this book would probably take its more than worthy position at number 2. It is almost as well travelled as my copy of Riders, and at this moment, I can think of no holiday that this book has not accompanied me on?? ***SPECS AND STUFF*** 1ST PUBLISHED IN 1991 BY Bantum Press (a division of Transworld Publishers Ltd ~ just in case you wanted to know??) and weighing in at a hefty 766 pages. This book is currently retailing at approx. £5.99. I have, up until now never come across this book priced at anything less than the R.R.P. Means one thing in my book (scuse the pun!!??) if its holding money, it must be good. And from what I can gather from my frequent trips round bookshops and stalls of all sizes, most, if not all of Jilly Coopers books manage to keep to their original selling price. They say that yoo shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but in this incidence it would be hard not to. The photograph, a pair of dirty Jodhpur clad male legs being seductively ‘touched up’ by a cherry red ‘taloned’ female hand reeks of class. The polo stick touch adds only to the actual title of the book, and to be honest, really wouldn’t make a lot of difference to me if it wasn’t there. The jodhpurs and the hand do the job of suggesting just what the book is mainly about ………….. Horses and ……. Um
mm…. Sex!!! ***HOWS IT WRITTEN?*** Superbly. Magnificently. And brilliantly are just a few words among others that spring to mind after deliberating that question for a few moments!! Of course, leaving the answer at just those three adjectives serves no purpose except to once again let yoo know ‘idodoyou’ thinks that this book is great. The style is very much in keeping with her other works. The words and story line flows easily and almost at once yoo begin to believe that yoo know the characters personally and that yoo are actually playing a part in the story line just by reading the book. The one thing that I’m not so keen on in this book, are the vivid descriptions of how the polo ponies are treated in Argentina. Whether this is an accurate account of the treatment that they suffer there I don’t know, but after reading the foreword of the book I can only assume that there is some truth in the treatment. Although I doo have a small fault (gasp… shock horror…..no way!!) With this book, it in no way disparages the writing at all. And to be fair, that particular story line is over with in a couple of chapters anyway. There are several separate story lines on going through out the book. One moment we are in Argentina, the next back in Rose Cottage snuggled in the Gloucestershire countryside. No matter, they are easy to follow and don’t make the story cluttered at all. And as with most of Coopers stories, those separate little story lines that are so relevant all finish beautifully together and combine an exciting and extremely worth while finish. Last thing on the writing style thing……… I know that I have mentioned horses and sex when describing Cooper novels, but it really isn’t so. I’m sure that those of yoo that haven’t read any of her material are thinking along the lines of the Karma Sutra for Equines??!!??!!?? It isn’t like tha
t. Honestly. In fact, there really isn’t a great deal of sex in these books at all. Oh yeah, there’s some, but certainly not to the extent that yoo find in others, and when yoo do come across any, it isn’t graphically detailed such as yoo would find in a Jackie Collins novel. Anyway, glad I’ve cleared that up…….. ***WHATS IT ABOUT?*** Horses ……….. Polo ………….. Sex!! There I go again, mentioning that sex word, there really isn’t a lot in Cooper books, honestly. It’s just that the critics say that, and it sounds sooo catchy and enticing!! Once again we see the much-welcomed return of Rupert Campbell Black (see my ‘Riders’ op to learn in depth just how much I love this man!!???!!). And although he plays a key part in the story line, he doesn’t take centre stage as he did in ‘Riders’, ‘Polo’ is set around the glamorous, opulent, and glitzy world of the sport of which the book takes it name ‘Polo’ (yoo didn’t honestly think I meant an actual mint did yoo??) From the Royal polo fields of England to the ‘estancias’ (ranches) of Argentina, taking in the heady heights of California along the exciting trip into a world that few of us have visited, and even fewer belong. Top class polo players play to win, both in their sport and in the bedroom, and yoo just know that there will be wars on and off the fields. ***WHO’S IN IT?*** In my opinion (rather apt!!??!!) I consider the two main characters to be Ricky France-Lynch and Perdita MacLeod. All though there are many much needed characters ~ a down trodden wanna be artist, a revengeful Falkland war vets unfaithful husbands ~ several, high flying business men, jealous wives, and the classic good all round American guy that comes to the rescue. These two, their lives, triumphs and pit falls are the basis for
this story. They are with us at the beginning and stay until the end. I could of course write a piece on all that contribute to the story line but to be honest, it would be hard to chose the secondary characters as they all play key parts. And so, I will take the easier, and quicker (for both yoo and me – yoo don’t want to be spending all night reading this one op dooyoo? I know I don’t want to writing all day either?) And stick to the principal two. ~ Ricky France-Lynch ~ BEWARE *** SPOILER ALERT *** He had it all! A beautiful wife, an adorable son and a career as one of, if the top, polo players in the country. But all too soon his world is tragically torn apart and he loses all that he loves. Thrown into a world, in which he has never been and has no idea how to survive, he meets his saviour in the form of extremely rich, extremely successful and gay rock star Dancer Maitland. With his help he starts to rebuild his world, and takes on the challenges set before him. To tell you why his world crashes down around his ears and what challenges he has to face would be cruel. But if you are all masochists I’ll tell you, for those of yoo that don’t want to know, SCROLL DOWN NOW ……. (I’ll tell you when its over…) Rickys wife leaves him taking with her their only son. He comes home drunk and finds them gone, only to follow them to where they are staying, he grabs his son and drives. The inevitable happens, Ricky crashes the car and kills his 2-year-old son out right. He loses the use of his right arm, his polo playing polo plying arm and ends up in prison. ***SPOILER FINISHED*** Whoa……. Steady there, scrolling down at a fair old rate weren’t you? Nearly missed the rest of the op ………….or was that what yoo wanted to doo??!! Anyway, where was I ….? Ahh yes, yoo can come back now,
the spoiler is way up there. Can yoo see why I didn’t really want to tell yoo ? And so on to …………….. ~ Perdita MacLeod ~ (There’s no spoiler present in this one, I’m not going to do it OK? You’re gonna have to find this one out by reading the book, it’s too big!!) A 14 year old brat that has only two loves in her short and shoulder chipped life ~ horses and Ricky France-Lynch. Nothing else matters to her except becoming a polo player and ending up winning the love of Ricky. She runs wild at school, and treats her mother with contempt. This would be the perfect time for me to slip the spoiler in ………….. But I ain’t gonna (ner ner). She is spoilt and will stop at nothing to get her own way, and she has no regard for those around her. But she is determined and at whatever cost, she will find a way to achieve her dreams. But are her dreams the ones she really wants? Have they just been dreamt enough that they seem to be the best thing for her? Will she realise before it’s too late that although dreams do come true they aren’t necessarily the ones that yoo are meant to have? ***DID I LIKE IT AND WILL I BE FEASTING MY PEEPERS ON THIS AGAIN?*** You bet ya!! All of Jilly Coopers main novels are readable over and over again. For me it’s the continuance of lead characters that grace the pages of each book for whatever reason. Yoo actually find yourself greeting them like long lost friends, or looking for them when they don’t seem to have a part in the story. Her books are so easy to read, and totally emerge you in the story line. I really can’t emphasise just how great that I think Jilly Coopers work is. Yoo can read op upon op telling you, advising yoo to read one of these books, but until yoo actually doo, yoo will never find out just how great they are. Now, I know that not ever
ybody likes the same sort of genre when it comes to reading material, but if you love excitement, horses, being transported into new worlds, treachery and good old fashioned romance, with a hint of sex yoo really really really should check out these books. Don’t just read and rate this, and then forget about it, go out and borrow, beg or steal a copy. Although if yoo doo decide to doo the latter ……….. I can’t be held responsible for what your actions might occur?? (yoo’ll have something to read in prison though won’t yoo??) Read it, become part of it and then on finishing it say ‘God damn it, idodoyou was sooo right’!! Yoo won’t be sorry, I promise…………………!!!
Jilly Cooper is a huge animal loverand it's not surprising that in most of her novels, you'd be hard pressed not to encounter a few horses and hounds. Polo, as well as telling it's own story, also staddle another 2 of Cooper's novels called Riders & Rivals. Riders introduces us to Rupert Campbell-Black, an upper class show jumper and playboy. In Rivals, he has moved on from show jumping to politics, becoming the tory minister for sport and part of a consortium who set about taking over a television station in the Cottswalds. Polo involves most of the charcters from both of these books, as well as introducing a whole host of new charcters. I bought Polo many years ago as a teenager. Last week, I found myself with nothing to read, and scouring the bookselves for something light-hearted to occupy a few hours, I came across the book again and re-read it. I found it every bit as entertaining as I had all those years ago. Jilly Cooper has a unique style of writing, and an ability to drop puns in that is hilarious. Her characters are given some of the funniest one-liners I have ever come across in print. Just in case any of you haven't read it, I'm not going to spoil the story line. I'm just going to outline in roughly, and give you a huge recomendation to read it. Even a man would find it funny. It's not just another slushy romance story. It's witty, sometimes outragious, and stuffed with more sex than one of Caligula's roman orgies! Ricky France-Lynch is a polo player. He lives in a huge Rutshire estate and is married to a scheming, materialistic minx called Chessie. Ricky eats, breathes and sleeps polo, and when chessie gets fed up with not being given enough attention or enough money to spend, she goes off with Ricky's polo sponsor, or patron Bart Alderton, a ruthless aircraft manufacturing billionaire. Ricky goes mad when he finds out, and drives off Drunk to fetch he
r and their little son Will home. When Chessie refuses to come home, he snatches Will, and drives off like a maniac, crashes the car and kills his beloved son. Ricky goes to prison. There he meets up with Dancer Maitland, a gay rock star who is in prison for drug smuggling. Dancer falls madly in love with Ricky, and decides to take up polo and sponsor a team for Ricky to play in. While Ricky is in prison, his friend Bas Baddington, an aristocratic playboy & bar owner, gives one of Ricky's cottages to a family who has been deserted by the father of the house. The McClouds. Daisy, the mother, is an artist. She is a lovable person who would do anything for anyone. She has 3 children. The youngest 2, Violet and Eddie are by her estranged husband Hamish. The oldest, Perdita (spanish for 'the lost one', was conceived at a drunken 60's party, and poor Daisy doesn't know who her father is. Perdita wants to be a polo star. She thinks the world owes her a living, and treats her mother really badly, especially when she finds out how she was conceived. On Ricky's release from prison, Perdita goes to work at his yard and learns polo. She starts moving in a more and more dangerous circle. She becomes involved with the family of Bart Alderton, much to Ricky's dismay. Bart has 2 sons and a daughter. His sons are uke and Red. Luke is a polo genius and totally dependable. Red is another polo wizzkid, but lives his life by his own set of rules. Bibi, the daughter, is part of Bart's airline business. She takes up with Angel, a polo playing Argintinian, who's main purpose in life is to get to England and take out the British army officer who interogated him during the Falklands war. The English officer is one Drew Benedict, another polo player, who is having an affaire with Perdita's mother Daisy. The pace of the book if very fast moving. The amount of characters
used could lead you to think that it would be very confusing, but it isn't. All the characters are linked together in very imaginative ways. It is so riviting, that it becomes hard to put down. You can almost imagine being part of the jet set polo world. The story is kept funny and intersting right up until the last page. Cooper even invloves Charles and Diana in her story. They are right in their nestled nicely along with Seb & Dommy the part animal twins, Victor & Sharon, the pharmacueticals billionaire and his sex addict wife, Alejardo the Argintinian polo yard owner and his huge family, and of course Rupert Cambpell-Black and his friends. The twists of Polo are inspiring. Just when you think you've worked out who Perdita's father is, or who Daisy is going to end up with, Jilly cooper throws something else into the melting pot just to keep you guessing. It's a great book. Ideal for airplanes or bedtime. Even if your not a Jilly Cooper fan, it's well worth an outing. I've put it back onto my bookshelf again, and no doubt I'll bring it back out again in another few years and give another read.
This is the third book in the series started by Riders, although it sort of runs alongside Rivals, as it features Rupert & Taggies wedding in it which is where Rivals ends (with a proposal not the wedding itself) The main stars of this book are Ricky France-Lynch, Perdita, Daisy, Luke, Red and Chessie (wife of Ricky). The storyline follows the world of Polo, and Ricky is a major star in the Polo world. Perdita is a young schoolgirl who is madly in love with Ricky and determined to become a topclass Polo player in order to win his heart. She is a beautiful arrogant blonde, who believes she can do whatever she wants. She is illegitemate, and does not get on with her stepfather. Her father turns out to be a real surprise when later revealed in the book. Ricky suffers a terrible personal tragedy, which turns his life upside down, and he finds the strangest people helping him to rebuild it, such as Dancer Maitland (a rock star), and Perdita. Ricky and Perdita travel to South America where Perdita meets Luke who falls in love with her instantly but she still only has eyes for Ricky. I wont tell you any more of the storyline, but all the old favourites are back such as Rupert Campbell-Black, Billy Lloyd-Foxe, Bas Baddinham, and the storyline is great. There is a bit too much technical Polo stuff in it for my liking, but if you can get through that you will have a basic understanding of the game, and you need that to understand the goals that are set to Ricky in order to win back his ex-wife!! The book builds to an exciting and also very touching finish, and I have read it over and over.
Ok so you’ve read Riders and you’ve read Rivals and you’re waiting for the next in the series. I have to admit that I was more than a little disappointed with this one. It is called Polo and the story centres around the game of polo – now there’s a surprise! There is a lot of technical detail in the writing about the actual polo matches, which I found quite tedious, as I’m not a polo fan at all. The only polo I enjoy is a little white one with a hole in the middle. Anyway that said the plot itself it still a strong, interweaving tale of sexual tension, rivalry, tears and laughter. The main character in this book is Ricky France-Lynch, nicknamed El Orgulloso, the proud one. He is a nine-goal polo player with a beautiful but manipulative wife, Chessie. Perdita MacCleod, daughter of Hamish a television producer, and Daisy adores Ricky and can’t wait to leave school and become a polo player. She faces many problems before she’s had a real chance to grow up leaving her a spoilt brat who loves only her horses and Ricky France-Lynch of course! Rupert Campbell Black still dominates the action. He is now Minister for Sport and happily married to Taggie, so he is actually behaving himself, as far as the women are concerned anyway, much to their disappointment. The storyline revolves mainly around Perdita and her exploits both on and off the polo field, but I found that the thrust of the tale sometimes got lost in the detail of the matches described chukka by chukka! I won’t go into detail about the plot of the book, as it would spoil it for anyone wanting to read it but suffice it to say it is the usual roller coaster ride of affairs, splits, reconciliations and ill concealed rivalries. It will make you laugh and make you cry and, providing the continual polo speak doesn’t annoy you too much, you won’t be able to put it down!
A novel featuring many of the characters from Riders and Rivals, it centres mainly on the adventures of the ravishing Perdita, who succeeds with stick and ball against all the odds in the almost exclusively male world of polo.