Review of ‘Gift Horse’, by Polly Morten

This review is by Julie Bunting, and was published originally in The Peak Advertiser, the Peak District's local free newspaper, and is reproduced with Julie's kind permission.

by Polly Morten
Published by Pneuma Springs Publishing UK (2007)

This new romantic novel from Polly Morten may reflect her obvious love of horses, familiar as she is with the real life world of dressage, show jumping and eventing, but she manages to weave romance and criminal intent into a tale which fairly canters along.

Gift Horse introduces Sarah Hallam, fresh from university and unnerved by sightings of a suspected stalker. A temporary job at a Derbyshire livery yard seems to offer an escape route for Sarah and her adopted 'mangy dog', Charlie - who, it transpires, has a secret of his own. Bolstered by endless cups of coffee and new friends, while surrounded by diverse characters with subplots of their own - perhaps sinister, perhaps not - Sarah finds the confidence to get a firm grip on the reins, taking on some serious self defence and a future promised by a smelly ancient who 'hitched up his sagging trousers and adjusted the baler twine around his waist' before promising something that was 'in the stars' - the thing that she most wanted to hear.

The love interest in the plot is strongly inclined towards the female reader but this isn't a 'bodice ripper', so a copy of Gift Horse could safely be slipped into anyone's Christmas stocking, from pre-teens to the family matriarch. If they love dogs, horses and country life (and handsome leading men), so much the better.

Review by Julie Bunting

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