Author: Penelope Janu
Copy Courtesy of Harper Collins Australia
Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Harlequin Mira for the opportunity to read and review Penelope Janu’s latest offering, Up On Horseshoe Hill.
This is the third book Janu has written and the second of her books that I have read. The cover of Horseshoe Hill includes recommendations from both Victoria Purman (The Land Girls) and Tricia Stringer (The Model Wife).
The main character in the story is a 26 years old dyslexic farrier, Jemima, inexplicably better known as Jet. At eighteen she was working part-time as a stable hand at Thornbrooke Stud, to make some extra money while undertaking her farrier apprenticeship. One night when she was there on her own, a tragic event occurred, resulting in the death of 4 horses. She’s sure she didn’t make a mistake when she gave the horses their vitamin supplement that evening, and the autopsy results stated “Death attributable to cardiac arrest and asphyxia. Possibly caused by food contaminants. Source unidentifiable.”
But the question remains, why did some horses die, and others not, was there a genetic cause? Did Jemima make a mistake with the supplements? Or was there another reason?
Now her deceased father’s cousin Edward has leased the homestead, which shares a driveway with the cottage Jemima lives in, to geneticist and wild animal vet Dr. Finn Blackwood and Blackwood is hell-bent on making Jemima talk about the events of that night.
Jemima doesn’t want to talk about what happened, she doesn’t even want to think about it, because that brings back the nightmares and the bully boy who’s been sent to tell her not to talk isn’t helping her state of mind.
And somehow, despite their antipathy towards each other, there seems to be some sort of sexual attraction between Jemima and Finn that overrides reason.
Janu’s work has flashes of inspired writing, the events of the night the horses died at Thornbrooke Stud, the work with children with disabilities at Follyfoot, and the talk given by Blackwood on the plight of the rhinos in particular, but in the main I found the characters to be quite two dimensional, the storyline weak and the relationship between Jemima and Finn to be completely incongruous. Having said that, I am aware from reviews elsewhere on this and prior books, my views on Janu’s work does not seem to accord with the majority of other readers.
If you have enjoyed Janu’s other works than I am sure that you will enjoy Up on Horseshoe Hill. I give it three stars.
A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading Up On Horseshoe Hill. You can read their comments below, or contribute to the discussion by leaving your own feedback.