The first in Tim Pears’s West Country Trilogy, The Horseman is a pastoral novel reminiscent of Thomas Hardy, about an unexpected friendship between two children, set in Devon in 1911.
In a forgotten valley on the Devon–Somerset border, the seasons unfold, marked only by the rituals of the farming calendar. Twelve-year-old Leopold Sercombe skips school to help his father, a carter. Skinny and pale, Leo dreams of a job on the estate’s stud farm. He is breaking a colt for his father when a boy dressed in a Homburg, breeches and riding boots appears. Peering under the stranger’s hat, he discovers Miss Charlotte, the Master’s daughter. And so begins a friendship between the children, bound by a deep love of horses, but divided by rigid social boundaries – boundaries that become increasingly difficult to navigate as they approach adolescence.
As recommended in the Slightly Foxed podcast, Episode 6.
‘A novel that is as moving and profound as it is evocative of the landscape and period’ Observer
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