Book not actually pictured as it was in one of the Terrible Piles

I’ve had a bit of a lull on the work front recently – which is FINE, as I’ve been able to catch up with myself  a bit, have some mid-marathon-training rest, etc., and I’ve been busy and have plenty booked in, but it’s left me with loads of lovely reading time. I picked this one up having read the first volume at the beginning of the month (“Adventure Stories from Black Pony Inn“), as I’ve had it for five years. In fact, checking back, I bought it on what appears to have been my first proper weekend off after I went full-time self-employed in January 2012! I blogged about the LibraryThing Virago Group meetup here, with pics, and can’t believe that was that long ago!

Oh, and do pop over to the lovely Shiny New Books, where you can read my review of Daniel Tammet’s “Every Word is a Bird we Teach to Sing” which has Icelandic AND transcription in it (the book, not my review).

Christine Pullein-Thompson – “More Adventures from Black Pony Inn”

(16 June 2012, Oxford)

The second trilogy (giving me six books read this month just for starters!) and I’m afraid to say it was slightly patchy, although still good reading.

In “Prince at Black Pony Inn”, the children are given a difficult horse with an unknown back story to train. Just as Harriet is gaining his trust, via one of the weird people they have staying at the guest house, a film company (that stalwart of 1930s-70s children’s books – do they still pop up so regularly now?) comes sniffing around, and all appears to be lost – in all senses of the word. Will it all come out OK?

In “Catastrophe at Black Pony Inn”, a family that’s quite superior and no one really likes comes to stay at Black Pony Inn. Everything starts going wrong, showing up the Pembertons as being hopelessly disorganised. Then the great 1987 hurricane strikes (I was wondering why I didn’t remember these books from my childhood, but this was published in 1989, when I was 17; it was odd reading about the hurricane) and they are all in real trouble, with all sorts of horrors and unlikely alliances. I think this is the only time Roy The Lovely Vet appears in this volume.

“Good Deeds at Black Pony Inn” finishes up the series with a bit of a whimper. Characters have come and gone, almost casually (it took me a while to remember who one of them was, just re-introduced with no explanation or reminder) and it starts off with planning a sudden fete to raise money for a sick neighbour. The fete itself and the preparations are nicely done, but it’s all tied up a  bit quickly and handily.

I liked Harriet’s slow and unwilling move towards womanhood, still the messy girl with hay in her hair at school but starting to blossom outside school, and the equality in the gender of the characters, with boys being caring and supportive and girls resourceful and brave.

“Catastrophe at Black Pony Inn” fills in 1989 in my Century of Reading (hooray! I must get on with that properly). Have you been disappointed by any series recently. I’m not having a good time with them, am I!