So I read Riders by Jilly Cooper...
By Jilly Cooper
Book Review, Spoiler alert! (I know totally not my style)
Originally published in 1985 by Arlington Books Ltd
My copy is a 2015 by Corgi.
Although I've just said it I will say it again, this 'review' is a running commentary of the book and my thoughts and feelings of what I read and will be filled with spoilers so if you haven't read this book and want to spoiler free then feel free to leave I won't hold it against you. However, if you have read this book and want to know what my thoughts are and need some entertainment then hopefully this is the thing for you! Anyway I hope you enjoy this, I enjoyed writing it and found it refreshing to do. So shall we start?
Not only was this my FIRST EVER Jilly Cooper novel, but this was also the LONGEST BOOK I HAVE EVER READ!
I'm only 19 hence why I'm so late to the party of Jilly Cooper's books but boy have I heard so much about her work with it being described as raunchy and full of scandal. I was curious to see what all the hype was with Jilly Cooper and her work with plenty of other bookworms seeking escape with her book, Rivals. After discovering that there is a series of books set in the fictional world of Rutshire I decided to start at the beginning with is with Riders.
Riders kick starts in 1970 and follows an array of characters through to 1980. Starting with the brooding hero, Jake Lovell, a young gypsie who dreams of becoming a show jumping star so he can finally destroy his long standing enemy Rupert Campbell-Black. Coming from a poor background, Jake struggles to make his name or afford a horse of his own, until he comes across Fen and Tory Maxwell. Fen is only 9 at this point and Tory is 18 and coming from the upper class is expected to marry into riches. However, Tory being a 'fat, ugly outcast' and living with her awful mother dreams of escape and finds herself attracted to Jake and buys him his first horse. Jake realising that together they could become a good team and make each other happy, Tory escape her mother's cruelty and Jake able to makes his dreams a reality both marry. I love Tory and personally I don't see her as fat and ugly. Tory is beautiful and Jake looks beyond what everyone sees and realises that Tory is quite special.
Flash forward to 1972 Rupert is the rich, irresistible show jumping star who loaths Jake and all he stands for. I guess you could say that Rupert is a snob in that he doesn't really respect anyone underneath him. Billy Lloyd-Foxe is Rupert's best friend and the two of them together are the type of party boys who act irresponsibly and live fast. Except unlike Rupert, Billy doesn't sleep with multiple partners with women begin more attracted to Rupert. In walks Helen Macaulay, an American drop dead gorgeous woman who leaves men in awe of her beauty. Being a christian and wishes to be respected refuses the advances made by Rupert who craves to bed her. The chase of Helen seems to be the only interest Rupert has in her. Eventually realising Helen wants more he proposes only then does he bed her. You'd think Rupert would change his ways after marrying Helen, WRONG!
Flash Forward to 1974/75 Jake and Tory have a child with another on the way, married life is working for both of them and although Jake has had bad luck with horses he finally gets his break when he is offered to compete in Madrid alongside Rupert and Billy as well as other international riders. Things don't go well to start with but eventually Jake proves that he is a worthy rider. Coming back from abroad Jake is more determined to beat Rupert and with the help of one of Tory's relatives buy a top class horse which Rupert wanted causing even more TENSION. Fen comes to live with the Lovell's as her mother is being cruel to her as well and in return works for Jake on the yard and gets to ride the horses.
As Jake gets better and better with his horses, Sailor and Revenge he becomes a threat to Rupert. So when it comes to the Olympic selection process at Crittleden and just when things are going well EXCEPT IT STARTS TO RAIN which causes Jake in the jump off with old boy Sailor against Billy and his horse The Bull for the winning place. After saying that he doesn't want to jump Sailor against Billy because of the weather condition and his horses health but the board of judges decline. After the last jump SAILOR DIES! I cried so hard. Afterwards, Rupert buys Revenge leaving Jake without any horses to take to the Olympic thus leaving him once again at square one.
After the Olympics 1976, Billy and Rupert come back with Silver medals in the team WHOOPIE! Rupert has a child now called Marcus and Billy FINALLY gets some action from a curvy, sexy journalist called Janey. Only to later marry and then have an affair on him a year later causing Billy to have a decline in sport and mentally. OH BILLY MY HEART! We're in 1978 now? Jake and Fen are back on the scene with Jake now riding one of Rupert's old horses that he mistreated back in 1974? There at the World Champions, Fen comes across an American Rider, Dino who is charming and sweet and has a liking for Fen. Jake and Rupert battle it out for first place with Jake winning and Rupert getting thrown off by Jake's horse. YES! FINALLY JAKE'S LUCK IS TURNING.
Rupert gets Billy back to his health after Jake makes a comeback and takes the show jumping by storm only to have a fall and break his leg in 5 different places and off riding for 6 months with the Olympics at stake. GOD I HAVE NO IDEA HOW MUCH MORE I CAN TAKE! Fen goes to Rome in Jake's place where Rupert tries to sleep with her, NO SURPRISE THERE! but instead she sleeps with Billy! OH GOD! I'll just point out that Fen is 17, Billy is 29. They have a lovely, passionate fling together with the two of them becoming better riders on the circuit as well. Things seem to be picking up only JANEY RETURNS OH THE NERVE! Billy obviously runs back to her leaving Fen utterly heartbroken. As a consequence, Fen's riding takes a turn for the worse but you'll never guess who shows up to help? DINO! DINO! yesssssss! Dino moves in with the Lovell's as Jake returns back home and trains under Jake to be a better rider. Dino gets on with everyone except Fen who is acting like a prize bitch who is taking everything for granted. Dino and Fen go back and forth-never quite making it as Fen is still heartbroken over Billy so Dino leaves and goes back to America. I WAS SO PISSED OFF ABOUT THAT! However, before he leaves he gets Tory a dishwasher which Tory cries about, bless her.
Moving on, Janey is pregnant, BILLY IS GONNA BE A DAD! and Kenya happens which I'm still shook about (page 704-06) but made me realise how much I dislike Helen. The Olympic team is announced with Fen, Rupert, Jake, Ivor and Griselda to ride in Los Angeles. OH! while this is going on Jake is now having an affair with Helen. I'M SO ANGRY! WHAT ABOUT TORY!!!
1980 The Olympics have arrived!
Dino is at the top of the American team and is a sure win only he has to shoot his horse a week before the Olympics start! WHY GOD WHY???? Fen is devastated for him and writes to him, realising that she is in love with Dino. Fen's horse gets injured which means she can't ride. OH FOR GOD'S SAKE! Rupert and Jake battle it out for the silver in the individual show jumping and Jake wins the Silver! YES JAKE! He realises how stupid he's been with Helen and that he loves Tory and his life at home, Helen is not the woman he wants, Tory is. Only Helen tells Rupert about the affair with Jake. LIKE A DICK! Rupert wants Jake's head so Jake and Helen run away together. NO YOU FOOL!
The Olympic team is a man short and now and Griselda is ill so now all that remains is Ivor, Rupert and Fen on Jake's horse for the team event. Which is crazy as all the other teams have 4 jumpers! Dino comes back to see Fen and they finally confess all to each other. OH MY HEART! Dino proposes to Fen and she says yes. MY HEART IS SWELLING! Tory meanwhile has gone into a depression and is utterly heartbroken, no one has heard from Jake and so Dino flies over to help Tory out. NOW THAT IS A REAL MAN. Rupert falls off his horse and dislocates his shoulder and gets is popped back into place but is devastated with whats happened with Helen and the embarrassment. Billy shows up to get his pal back into shape. DO I HEAR BROMANCE!
The day of the team event Fen, Ivor and Rupert perform a miracle with Rupert going clear on both rounds with one hand riding winning the gold! Ivor, Rupert and Fen being the underdogs are overwhelmed with emotions that when on a TV interview Fen announces that she is going to marry Dino after Rupert asks if she would like to go back to his room. It seems Rupert isn't all cut up about Helen after all.
Back in England, Fen and Dino take the Lovell children out for the day to help Tory who is declining. While taking Wolf (family dog) out for a walk to the shops Wolf runs into the road and gets hit by a car. I
LITERALLY CRIED! Tory buries Wolf and takes some belladonna of Jake's to end her life.
Jake is getting irritated by Helen who he has come to realise is too high maintenance and not Tory and certainly not the woman he loves. He sells his Silver medal so he can afford to finance Helen but finds out that Tory's dog has died so he runs off to get her a puppy and to see her, dumping Helen. Only when he gets to the house is it empty. A phone call to the house tells him that Tory is in hospital so he rushes to the hospital, puppy in tow to Tory. Ignoring the abuse from Fen, Dino and many others, Jake takes a dying Tory back home where he searches for an antidote to get her better. Praying and holding her hoping she doesn't die. Tory gets better and Jake promises he will never leave her again and that he loves her. AWE JAKE AND TORY! It seemed the antidote to the poison was love all along.
In the end, Billy and Janey are happy, Rupert is up to his old tricks. Jake has given up show jumping to teach and Fen and Dino live happily ever after in America and Helen is living with another man. HAPPY ENDING! God I'm exhausted now!
So that is my running commentary of Jilly Cooper's Riders which I absolutely adored. I can see why people praise her so much. Her writing is brilliant and if you read this spoiler filled commentary and still want to read it then please do! Also Rider's is the first in a series of books set in the fictional world of Rutshire.
Please let me know if you enjoyed this or not so I know whether I should do some more or not of running commentary.
Till next time,