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Marvellous “bonkbuster” from Jilly Cooper who is happily back on form, now she has returned to the world of horses. If you were disappointed by some of non-horse novels since Polo, you’ll be delighted once again with Mount!.

Rupert is back – and thanks to some apparent age massaging (the dates don’t seem to be canon any more, so just try to overlook this – Young Eddie’s age is a particular issue) Rupert is still a flawlessly gorgeous romantic hero, virile and beautiful, in his late fifties.

You’ll probably spot the villain a mile off, from the book blurb after you’ve read the prologue. There’s a scene which doesn’t happen which I was surprised at (a particular race) but the book was so long by this point that I can see why Cooper chose another denouement.

Lots and lots of horses and racing and intrigue and adrenalin, and even though I’m not a horsey person, I really became fond of some of the equine characters like Master Quickly. More of New Year’s Dave would have been nice. Quite a bit of sex – Cooper tends to be more funny than erotic – and while it’s great that she celebrates “silver shaggers” I could really have done with a lot less of Valent’s and Etta’s horny honeymooning.

I’m always left wondering whether racing people shag around this much. I suspect it’s probably even more prolific than Cooper describes!

Taggie gets a bit of a raw deal here. Long-time fans may regret one of the major storylines, which may ruin some of the characters for you if you like your romances “safe” (and given Appassionata, feels a bit out-of-character). Mount! is NOT “safe”. It’s also not very fairytale-ending unlike some of the others, though of course it ends reasonably happily for all the progatonists.

If you haven’t read Jilly Cooper before…

DON’T start with this one. At the very least read Rivals (her second and best novel, where the Rupert/Taggie relationship happens) and preferably Riders. There’s also a combined edition. I would also recommend reading The Man Who Made Husbands Jealous just because it’s so lovely, and gives you background to the Rannaldini stuff. You could read Polo if you really love the horsey stuff.

The novel that directly precedes Mount!, Jump!, gives some background but isn’t really vital. I would also skip the art/music/orchestra/school ones – you could aways read these later. The four horsey ones: Riders, Polo, Jump! and Mount! do create a continuity of their own.

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