Tuesday, 3 June 2014

PBOTD 3rd June: Patricia Leitch - The Summer Riders

One of the themes of the Jinny series is what it means to possess things. Can you possess another living thing? And even if you think you can, can you let it go? In A Devil to Ride, Jinny found it hard that Ken could ride Shantih infinitely better than her. But it is much harder when the person who wants to share Shantih with you is worse: in fact, they cannot ride at all.

Armada Original, 1st edn, 1977
In The Summer Riders (1977), Bill and Marlene Thorpe, two children Mr Manders knows from his time as a probation officer, are coming to stay at Finmory. Jinny is appalled. She has planned a summer full of horses and improving Shantih; the last thing she wants is a stranger dismantling her plans. Jinny is anything but accommodating to Marlene. Marlene longs to ride Shantih; Jinny is utterly determined not to let her. 

Armada, pb, 1984
In the end, Jinny manages to let go of her possessiveness, and Marlene does indeed ride Shantih before she is decanted back to Stockton, and a life spent trying to protect her brother, who it is clear is destined for a life of crime. Jinny starts to do what is one of the hardest things to do for all of us: starts to see life through another person's eyes.
Armada, pb, 1992

“Jinny knew that it was what she would have wanted to do if she had been Marlene. If she had had to leave Shantih tomorrow and go back to Stopton, Jinny would have wanted to gallop by herself over the sands of Finmory Bay; to be alone with Shantih, sharing the ecstasy of galloping together – the freedom, the joy. To hoard the moments in her mind so that she would always have them there, to bring them out, to re-live them, during the black times.....The part of Jinny that clutched tight and hard on to anything that belonged to her had released its hold, just a little bit.” 
Catnip, pb, 2010

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