BOOK CLUB: Up On Horseshoe Hill

Click to rate this book!
[Total: 4 Average: 4.3]

Author: Penelope Janu
ISBN: 9781489278777
IMPRINT: Mira
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.

10 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: Up On Horseshoe Hill

  1. A love story, with several twists and turns. Jemima is a farrier, living a solitary life, in her close-knit community. But she has a secret. Finn Blackwood is a wild animal vet, tasked with getting answers about the death of four horses. He needs Jemima’s help but she refuses. Will he get the answers and possibly destroy Jemima? Read it!

    My first Penelope Janu book and I loved it. Just the right amount of twists and turns, to keep the reader engrossed. It took me two days to read as I couldn’t put it down.

  2. Another great book by Penelope Janu!

    Jemima would rather forget the past and continue with her life the way it is. Finn comes along asking questions and stirring memories. They are of course attracted to each other – but the past comes between them. Can the work through it and trust each other!?

    A great book with some twists and heart stopping moments to keep you reading. Some beautiful characters that tug on the heart strings.

  3. As always a great book by the amazing Penelope Janu and thanks to beauty and lace for the great opportunity of reading this beautiful book

  4. I loved this book. I was thoroughly invested with the characters and the story. A lot of research must have gone into writing this book, this isn’t just a light romance. Reading about a Farrier’s job was fascinating as well as insights into the workings at the zoo.

    Jet is strong, yet vulnerable. She has been through a lot in her life, having to grow up early losing her father when she was only 17, yet she is almost child-like in her innocence. To the point where it was a bit uncomfortable at times. Finn is trying to have an adult grow-up normal conversation with her, and it’s almost like she is sticking her fingers in her ears and singing lalalalah. Considering they are in (or almost in) a relationship, the adult/child way they communicate sometimes is a bit unsettling. I’m still not entirely sure why he was so patient with her (besides the fact that he liked her – so much easier for him to walk away). Despite that, I was still on Jet’s side and hoping for a HEA.

    I wouldn’t mind a second story set in the area – I think that Sapphire would have a fascinating story to tell.

  5. Thanks to Harlequin Mira and Beauty and Lace Club I had the chance to read Up on Horseshoe Hill by Penelope Janu.

    A rural romance story with some suspense added in for twist. The main female character, Jemima, has gone through some tough times and is still dealing with an accident that occurred several years earlier. A specialist vet, Finn came to area to investigate what had happened all those years ago. Finn and Jemima butted heads a lot – as well as other parts of their bodies! Which was also a confusing time for Jemima.

    I do like Penelope’s writing, unfortunately I was not the biggest fan of this story. It seemed a little fanciful, which may have been the intention but things just seemed too far fetched to have happened in a rural Australian town. I believe that took a little away for the book.

  6. Up on Horseshoe Hill is the first book by Penelope Janu I’ve read and I really enjoyed it. Her writing style was a little different to a lot of books I’ve read lately which made it an added element to the story. The story is told by Jemima Kincaid, she’s had a tough life with losses of those closest to her, so although she is a friendly out going person, she doesn’t let people get close to her. When Finn Blackwood rocks up he not only unsettles her with dredging up things of the past she just wants to forget about but she’s deeply attracted to Finn further wrecking havoc with Jemimas life.
    I really enjoyed this book, with the romance, a bit of mystery and general story line, it had me hungry to keep turning the pages to see what happened next. I’ll definitely be adding Penelope’s other books to my to read list.
    Thanks to Beauty and Lace & Harlequin for the chance to read and review up on Horseshoe Hill

  7. Thanks to HarperCollins and Beauty & Lace for enabling me to read Penelope Janu’s Up On Horseshoe Hill. I love Penelope’s writing style and have read her previous books so I was delighted that another of her books was out! This book sure didn’t disappoint! I hope Penelope has a lot more books coming.

    This book has lots or twists and turns to keep the reader in suspense. Of course it has a great ‘happy ever after’ ending as well 🙂 Well worth the read – block out a nice chunk of time as you won’t be able to put it down.

  8. Up On Horseshoe Hill is the first Penelope Janu book I have ever read. I’m definitely hooked. I really enjoyed Janu’s writing style and look forward to reading her other books.
    Up On Horseshoe Hill is a rural romance full of twists and turns that make this book difficult to put down.
    This was enjoyable read. Thank you Beauty and Lac3 and Harper Collins Australia, for giving me the opportunity to read an$ review this book.

  9. I was unfamiliar with Penelope Janu but after reading “Up On Horseshoe Hill”, I will definitely seek out more of her works
    I loved it: it’s true you can’t take the country out of the girl. Jemima or Jet’s character resonated with me on so many levels. I grew up with horses and have trimmed many a good, fiercely independent and quite happy with my own company
    This is essentially a love story. The love story between Jet a country farrier and Finn, a Wild Animal Vet. Finn is in town to solve the mysterious deaths of. several horses years ago. An episode which has haunted Jet for many years
    The pair have a very tumultuous relationship. Jet has had a lot to face in her short.life.
    As well as being a love story, this novel.tells us the story of someone trying to bury the past and recognising that some things.you have to deal with even though you try to ignore them
    This is a very raw story and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Many thanks to Beauty and Lace and Harlequin Mira for introducing me to a new favourite author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *