HOME BY CHRISTMAS by Bridget Beresford and Richard Waygood.
This compelling historical novel is set at the outbreak of World War I in 1914.
It tells the story of a fictitious cavalry regiment, the King’s Own Cavalry. A group of men from different social backgrounds are thrown together by the hazards of war.
As the soldiers fight alongside each other on the battlefields of Northern France class barriers are broken down. Prejudice and scorn slowly develop into love and respect.
Not only do the men cope with the savage conflicts, they also have to struggle with the daily routine of looking after their horses in appalling conditions. The story begins when, after a skirmish, they and their horses become lost behind enemy lines. A young French woman risks her life as she helps them back to British territory. Later she has to suffer the consequences of her action.
Bridget Beresford spent several years hunting in the great forests of Northern France, often riding over WWI battlefields; while there she heard many anecdotes from Great War veterans and their surviving relatives. On returning to England she had her own yard breaking and schooling horses, also training and riding point-to-pointers and eventers.
She is now a dressage judge and an equine iridologist.
Her first book Bolted, a murder/mystery set in the horsey world of dressage and eventing, is available on Amazon Books for Kindle.co.uk
Richard Waygood MBE joined the Household Cavalry as a Trooper at 16-years-old and left as a Major in 2009. He is now Chef d’Equipe and trainer for the international 2* British Eventing Team, while also Chef d’Equipe for the gold medal winning British Dressage Team. He is an associate director for the British Military Tournament.
The full horrors of WW1 and the fictitious King’s Own Cavalry regiment are vividly conveyed by Richard Waygood and Bridget Beresford in this book. It certainly brings home the realities and the true atrocities that the soldiers and horses of the First World War suffered. It graphically describes the events that they lived through on a daily basis. The relationships between the men who are from different social backgrounds is fascinating and complex, which then develop into a respect for both each other and their senior officer, Captain Andrew Harrington-West.
It tells the story of Andrew and his experiences in both the war and his personal life and his relationship with his fellow soldiers, the horses and how he deals with the prejudice of class barriers.
Do not try to compare this book with War Horse, which is really aimed for young readers and far too contrived to be believable to an older reader. This book details the mud, gore, suffering and sacrifices of the Great War.
Compulsive reading and hints at maybe a sequel?
This was an excellent read and well written. The only drawback is having to wait for the sequel to come out.
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Price £10 including postage and packing.
It is also available on Amazon Books for Kindle.co.uk This is the link: