Mount by Jilly Cooper
published by Bantam Press
Jilly Cooper’s Mount has to be one of the most eagerly awaited books for a generation that grew up immersed in the gloriously debauched world of Rupert Campbell-Black.
This gloriously posh and totally unscrupulous bad boy has been in our literary and television lives for some 30 odd years.
Jilly Cooper, OBE who turns 80 next year began her writing life as a journalist. She went on to write several romance novels as well as turning her hand to non-fiction. She is however best known for books that perhaps coined the phrase the Bonkbuster, the Rutshire Chronicles, the first of which, Riders, hit bookshelves in 1985, after the first draft was left by Cooper on a London bus.
There have been a number of books featuring the Rutshire inhabitants, Riders, Rivals, Polo, The Man Who Made Husbands Jealous, Appassionata, Score, Pandora, Wicked and Jump. These have featured a huge cast of cads and sex mad ubr-brats, but Mount goes back to the glorious hedonistic world of Rubert Campbell-Black.
Rupert is now almost 60 and a great grandfather, but is still, of course Nirvana to women. Perhaps that he is 59 and not the big Six Oh makes him more appealing? He is now running a Thoroughbred stud farm and jetting around the world to races. The angelic and much put upon Taggie is still much put upon and spends most of her time running around the kitchen and being a general dogsbody.
Old rivalries are still very much to the surface, with Rupert consumed with the desire to see his horse, the aptly named Love Rat be crowned Leading Stallion of the year and trounce his rival’s horse, Roberto’s Revenge. While he jets around the world chasing winners at the most glamourous race courses in the world, the fort at home is held by his assistant, the tortured, Gav, damaged by alcoholism and the cruel acts of his ex-wife.
New to the mix is an exiled Zimbabwean, Gala who of course wreaks havoc, with everyone wanting to sleep with her, including Eddie, Rupert’s grandson, Gav and Rupert himself. Sub-plots abound, with Taggie being chased by a prospective lover and sinister acts of sabotage happening on the estate.
The book is unwieldy with the action spreading as wildly as Japanese Knotweed but it is impossible not to love and is utterly un-putdownable.
Cooper’s incredible skill and great imagination are very much in evidence. There is a huge cast of characters, which as always are detailed with great humour in the beginning of the book and take up some sixteen pages with superb descriptions that should not be skipped over, such as Bethany Latton who is described as ‘a beautiful bitchy nymphomaniac.’
One of the most incredible things about Cooper writing this book is that not only is the evidence of her not inconsiderable journalistic skill still very much in evidence, but that she wrote this book while her husband was dying from Parkinsons and in fact did die before the book was completed. It takes incredible strength of character to be able to leave that aside and immerse oneself in work, although ‘real’ life was probably so rotten and traumatic that perhaps it was a relief to be able to be submerged in the book – and what an utterly brilliant book it is.
To purchase your own copy of Mount, please click HERE
Review provided by Jacqui Broderick of Lavender & White Publishing