Archives for posts with tag: Sarah Moore Fitzgerald

Image result for national velvet book 1st edition

Published by Egmont Modern Classics.

THIS is what dreams are made of.

The fictional tale of a young girl entering the Grand National.

This is frankly one of the best books I have read for years.

The passion, pace and the use of language are wonderful. The use of colloquialisms (this was published in 1935) perhaps a little strange, but add colour to this gorgeous book about a young girl’s dreams…

‘They’ made a film of it in 1944 (Elizabeth Taylor was in it) – but I suddenly remembered the book last week, realised it wasn’t in stock, had the ‘powers that be’ order some and bought a copy.

I can’t put it down.

‘She bent slightly and held him firm and steady, her hands buried in the flying mane firm on the stout muscles of his neck. She urged him no more, there was no need, but sat him still. He was a natural jumper. She did not attempt to dictate to him. They cleared the wall together, wildly, ludicrously high, with savage effort and glory, and twice the force and power that was needed…’

I so wish that I had read this when younger – a powerful book of the culmination of dreams and determination against – well – read it!

In 1935 women weren’t allowed to ride in the Grand National. In 1976 the Sex Discrimination Act was passed and Charlotte Brew entered the National in 1977 on Barony Fort.

In 1982 Geraldine Rees, on Cheers – finished the course. In 1988 three female jockeys entered. In 1994 Rosemary Henderson (riding Fiddlers Pike) finished in fifth place as did Carrie Ford (on Forest Gunner) in 2005. More recently in 2012 Katie Walsh rode Seabass and finished third…and Nina Carberry has entered the race five times… They have and are taking on the world…

There has been a plethora of books written about fictional and non-fictional tales of young girls/women who have done something remarkable. This precedes them all, both in age and in wonder, but is so much more than that – it’s glorious. I am SO pleased that Egmont have kept it in print. It is such an important volume.

Full of hope and horses…

What more could anyone want?

The cover above is that of the first edition hardback (no longer available), however, this is the cover Egmont have given this edition (17th) – just as powerful, but I wanted to acknowledge the age of this one – it is so very special.

National Velvet

 

 

Image result for the list of real things orion

Published by Orion Books

I am beginning to have a ‘thing’ about Sarah Moore Fitzgerald. So far I have loved every one I have read.

What is real? A question we often ask small children, in an attempt to curb their often enthusiastic imaginations. We ask if it actually happened. Was it something they saw with their own eyes? All well and good, until you find that just perhaps, what they have seen, which you believe not to be real, actually might be. Who says that we are right to bring these flights of fancy down? As long as they learn the ‘truth’ and what a lie is – what does it matter? Many years ago I knew an elderly lady who informed me that those I love will be waiting for me after I die – by that I mean my non-human friends.

I rather like to think she was right. Who’s to say that she wasn’t? I hope she met all her dogs and cat when she died. She certainly believed it. There is no more reason to disbelieve our meeting people and ‘other animals’ we have loved, after we die, than there is to believe we do. It could be Grandpa was laughing at my attempt to cut bread as thin as he used to do, and perhaps trying to help…we just don’t know.

The loss of anyone can be haunting – sibling, parent, friend, or ‘pet’ (which is such an inadequate word). Recently I have been haunted by Pakka…I keep seeing her out of the corner of my eye, she’s there, and then she’s gone. Who’s to say she isn’t really there. Trying to guide me and young Sakka to a greater understanding. I might think it was my new friend, except the colour is different; Sakka is more toffee than Pakka was, she’s a beautiful rich caramel. Pakka though, was a gorgeous sandy shade. She was my familiar, friend and confident. Intelligent and took no nonsense from anyone. Canine or otherwise. This one, well…she’s young, you know.

This book is about death. Life too. About belief. Hope, families and siblings. It’s about finding out who you are, what you believe is important and how all of that changes.

Its also about younger sisters. I don’t have one of those. I am one. I am the one who asks the impossible questions, the perhaps, a little mad one.

This is another wonderful book from the Fitzgerald stable – another one to disappear into, one that you won’t want to let go.

 

Published by Orion

“Ned was the reason why Mr Doyle had to get a pacemaker fitted.”

***

“And besides, according to most of our teachers, you are not supposed to give power to wild boys on horses. It only encourages them”

Another superb book from the Orion stable.

This is a book about friendship, horses, and being your own person. It is about horse racing, bravery and standing up for what is right. It is about finding out that not everything fits neatly in boxes and that it is rare for people to do so too.

I marked two small points in this book – both made me laugh out loud and they are quoted above…

Ned is something else. I wish I had met Ned when I was a child – wild, different and silent. He doesn’t attend school very often. Ned, though is special – an extraordinarily talented boy – wild, determined, and exceptional. He reminds me a little of my favourite uncle –

This is a story with characters that almost engulf the book.

Minty’s parents though, are parting…things are not right at home. An understatement, if there ever was one. Her father’s stuff is in a skip in their drive, her mother is smiling fake smiles and talking about “turning new leaves”, “starting again” and “new lives”.

The trouble is Minty rather liked the other one – the one before her parent’s began to talk earnestly in whispers, and started smiling fake smiles at one another and then there is Ned.

Ned who doesn’t ‘do’ school. He is the boy that the teachers shrug about. Who glowers at everyone and has something to do with horses…

K M Peyton’s Blind Beauty was my favourite ‘horse’ book. Now I’m not so sure – I suspect it is this, a glorious celebration of being different, bravery and friendship. They should both be sold together – I feel they are a pair of siblings…

I wish I could ride like Ned…I wish I could have a relationship with a  horse like he has with Dagger… but that would entail so much more…

It is superb.