Like many others I snapped up Mount! As soon as it was released desperate to return to Rutshire and return to my love of the Campbell-Blacks, Lloyd-Foxes and Rannaldinis. Never been particularly in love with the horse racing side of it; unlike others I still really enjoyed the art/music/film/school etc books which have followed since Polo so the fact this was a new racing book was neither hear nor there for me. I was leaning more towards my love of the wonderful characters who I had fell in love with since my grandma first lent me The Man Who Made Husbands Jealous when I was 16.
I’ve allowed Mount! 3* because of my genuine love for the Rutshire chronicles. Also my love for the characters and the way that this felt like curling back up into a favourite armchair after returning from a long holiday.
I don’t want to write a review which is purely criticism so I’ll give the good parts:
I love the satirical humour and the hilarity of the ‘bonks’ between characters.
I like learning more about the world of horse racing and the sort of ‘how the other half live’ insight which we as readers get in these books.
I love that JC can still shock me now that I’m far more worldly than I was at 16.
Unfortunately, that’s all that I can really pull from it. Overall I found the book to be highly homophobic, particularly racist and horrendously sexist. This might have been something JC could get away with in the early 90s but not now, it’s not a funny ‘look what you used to be able to get away with saying’ when it’s published in 2016. The stable hands are treated in an awful way with girls made out to be sluts with nicknames like ‘Lou-easy’ and the boys are treated like studs competing on who can lay the most women. Characters of foreign descent as thrown in willy nilly as if JC only put them there for political correctness. For example a couple of hundred pages in we hear from Shaheed ‘a Pakistani stable lad’ who is then never referred to again. ‘The Blacks’ is a frequently used phrase and then softened by highlighting the fact that Rupert and Taggie adopted black children. Jan who is supposedly gay throughout the early parts of the novel is nicknamed ‘Jansy Pansy’ and one of the only other gay characters Ash is presented only as a potential racist who is then called ‘a f***king f**got. Both men and women are accused of being fat when barely over 10 stone and while I understand this is to with the weight needed for jockeys I think there could have been a better way to describe it than fat.
For those of us who loved Rupert and Taggie and delighted in their relationship and Rupert finally becoming faithful it was disappointing to see both of them straying with Old Eddie’s carers. Gala starts off as a winning character who you can’t help but pity as she moves through life so miserably following the horrific murder of her husband and animals in Zimbabwe. Just when you start to like her though she turns into this horrible person who is sleeping with Rupert while still professing to adore Taggie. JC’s attempts to play this off as a romantic love affair are ruined by Rupert’s cries of ‘oh butterc*nt’ and Gala’s reluctance to tell Rupert that Taggie has cancer until she’s bedded him again. Not to mention the fact she had already slept with his grandson young Eddie. The fact she ends up with Gav only further serves to annoy me because Gav deserved so much better.
As for Jan, it’s obvious from the off that he is the one causing problems and sabotaging everything and also trying to steal Taggie. Frankly this would have worked fine if it wasn’t for the rushed in ending which ended up being beyond ridiculous. A centuries old grudge about a horse race between two ancestors was just ridiculous and unbelievable. As was the attempts by JC to frame Bao when it was highly obvious it wasn’t him.
I probably would read another Rutshire Chronicles book because of my dedication to the series but this one gave me nothing of my old love for the series and I’ve come away more than a little disappointed.