Sunday, 26 January 2014

PBOTD: 26th January, Anne Digby - A Horse Called September

If you were a fan of school stories, you might well have read Anne Digby's fourteen book Trebizon series, published from 1978-1994. Heroine Rebecca and her friends Tish, Mara and Susan move on up the school from their first uncertain years until they hit the fifth form. Anne Digby was good on the tricky relationships between girls in this series, and she brought the same sympathetic eye to the first of her pony books, A Horse Called September (1976). At the beginning of the book, Mary and Anna are inseparable, sharing everything, even Anna's horse, September.

Dennis Dobson, 1976, first edition
Granada paperback, 1978
Anna's father has big plans for her. He wants social success, and he sends her away to boarding school at Kilmingdean, which specialises in producing champion show jumpers. Mary is left behind, employed by Anna's father to look after September. At first Anna does write, as she's promised, but the letters dry up as Anna is caught between the desire to be like the girls at school, and her old friendship.

Not only does it look as if Mary is losing Anna, she's losing September. Although she looks after him, she is not allowed to ride him, as Anna's father is in charge of exercising him. He overdoes it, and September suffers from overwork. It seems as if Anna is powerless: she has no money, which is the one thing that would give her clout. Eventually, of course, it does work out, and it's interesting to see a book which focuses not on the excitement of boarding school life, but what it's like for those left behind, and on the tensions between old and new lives.

Granada hardback, 1985
A Horse Called September was first published by Dennis Dobson in 1976. It was reprinted in paperback, and hardback, and you can now buy it as an ebook.

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Read more about Anne Digby and her pony books

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