Derby Day by DJ Taylor
Derby Day instantly transports you back to Victorian England. It is meticulously researched and the dialogue is so realistic that I often felt as though I was reading a book written in the 19th Century.
The story begins with a typical Victorian courtship:
The friends and relations of the couple are slowly introduced into the book, along with a race horse and those who work in horse racing circles.
I initially loved the atmosphere, but slowly became bored by the lack of action. I have no interest in horse racing so the snippets of information about it held no interest for me either. After about 100 pages I realised I had no emotional connection to the characters and considered abandoning the book, but for some reason I gave it another chance. I read another 60 pages before finally declaring defeat.
If you enjoy slow, atmospheric books and have a passion for horses then this book may be for you, but I need more action and emotion to excite me.
Far to Go by Alison Pick
Far to Go is probably fantastic, but has the disadvantage of being very similar to numerous other books I’ve read. It is different in that it is set in Czechoslovakia, but in reality the country makes little difference – the story of Jews persecuted during WWII has been told so often that I have little tolerance for it now.
Far to Go has a confusing start, but once I got past this I encountered a well written, emotional story. The problem was that I felt I knew exactly what was going to happen. I could see the relationships between the Jews and non-Jews being set up and I knew that the war would change it all. After about 70 pages I started to skim read and then I read the last couple of chapters.
If the premise of this book appeals to you then I’m sure you’ll fall in love with it, but I’m afraid it wasn’t original enough for me.