Looking for a holiday read? Horse & Hound's Polly Bryan reviews 'An island fit for horses' — Michael P Ashton's novel where the world of polo meets sleepy Greek island life
It’s not often that your typical beach read centres around polo. If you’re looking for light-hearted holiday reading with a horsey twist, An island fit for horses could be the one for you.
The story follows Nick, a successful but bored businessman, who lavishes more money and attention on his Cumbrian polo club than on his wife, Stef. Not particularly perturbed when she announces she is embarking on a four-week cruise, Nick sets off for the Greek island of Ithaca, famously unsuitable for horses, hoping for some peace and quiet.
Of course, he doesn’t find it.
On day one, he discovers a polo-themed bar (naturally) in the sleepy harbour village of Pouthena and finds himself at the centre of plans to hold a polo event on the island, in order to raise money for an archeological dig that will help bring modern amenities to inhabitants.
His only problem is that he has three weeks to pull the event together, on an island with no flat ground, no polo players, and no horses.
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The tale of how the tournament comes together certainly borders on fairytale — readers should not come away with any ideas of achieving something similar.
But such is the fantastic nature of the novel as a whole, that the implausibility doesn’t really matter as much as it should.
Best enjoyed with an exotic drink on a warm beach, in the sort of mindset where anything seems possible, An island fit for horses would likely prove an enjoyable read. Although it might make you wish you had decided to go on holiday to Ithaca instead.
Grammar sticklers beware: within one chapter, you will wonder whether the book ever had an editor, such is the inconsistency of style and grammar, and lack of coherent punctuation. But for those who are more concerned about being whisked away to a whimsical world involving horses, give it a try — with a cocktail in hand.