Riders by Jilly Cooper

I’ll admit I fully expected not to like this. I remember all the women in my family reading it in the 80s. This made me sniffily assume it wasn’t for me.

But actually, it was wonderful. It’s a big, chunky book, something to take on holiday and lose yourself in. I was initially suspicious of the horses-and-champagne context, but Cooper’s writing was empathetic and absorbing enough to make me feel like I was learning about a new world, rather being shown a how the other half live.

And the sex: well, it’s fairly polite by modern standards, but the main male characters are practically archetypes of female fantasy. I found myself getting fizzy-knickered over Rupert Campbell-Black just like his army of (fictional) female fans.

Overall, it may only be slightly saucy, but it’s a great piece of escapism.

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