Friday, 23 May 2014

PBOTD 23rd May: Catherine Harris - The Heronsbrook Gymkhana

The Heronsbrook Gymkhana (1964) is Catherine Harris' last pony book (at least as far as I know). She moved away from the family whose madcap adventures had careered through her earlier books, the Marshams. Perhaps she felt, with maturity, that an insistence on dash and headlong adventure were best avoided. The Heronsbrook Gymkhana  is much more domestic in scale, but it is her best book. 

Blackie, 1964, 1st edn, illus Geraldine Spence
It takes a single event; a gymkhana, and a set of characters ranging from the young to the about-to-be-married, and the adult organisers, all of whose fears and hopes are explored within a convincing setting and a short time frame. It's a format which suits her: instead of having to conjure up convoluted plot, the set time frame and events of the gymkhana allow her to explore how her characters behave in a realistic setting.

Knight, pb, 1978
It is, generally, an assured book.  It does have one of those endings where all the ends are neatly tied, and those who are mildly wicked resolve to improve, but the process of getting there is thoroughly enjoyable..

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More on Catherine Harris and her books

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