Score! by Jilly Cooper

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I read this book when I was probably a bit too young. I don’t even know where it came from. It’s definitely not my dad’s sort of thing, my mum’s not a big reader and this is quite a chunky book, so I can’t see her reading it. But maybe she picked it up in a charity shop to read on holiday and then never actually read it.

But I did and I fell head over heels in love with Tristan de Montigny, Wolfgang Rannaldini and Tabitha Campbell-Black. This is actually the sixth in the Rutshire Chronicles but it was my first and so I didn’t know any of the beloved returning characters. In actual fact, this book focuses more on the next generation: more about Tabitha than her infamous father Rupert, Tab’s relationship with Isa Lovell, the son of Rupert’s old rival and bitter enemy Jake, Rannaldini’s various children are now old enough to be a proper part of the story and so on, plus a cameo from Christy Lloyd-Foxe.

This was the first really “adult” book I ever read and it was a bit of a jump for me from the likes of Enid Blyton to Jilly Cooper and I suppose I learnt a lot and completely missed some bits, in roughly equal proportions. I certainly learnt a lot of new words for concepts I was only vaguely familiar with at the time. But as well as being a departure style-wise, it was also by far the biggest book I’d ever read, a book in which stories and themes and arcs could develop as slowly or dramatically as they wanted, and it could cover hundreds of thousands of storylines. Well, I exaggerate a little. The main storyline is the murder mystery – for this book steps away from the usual Jilly Cooper formula of Aga Saga Set in Rich People Pastime – showjumping, TV production, polo, orchestras and whatever The Man Who Made Husbands Jealous was about – but there’s plenty of room for the latest series of dramas in everyone’s lives.

A lot of the characters are total caricatures, several of them are flat-out stereotypes, very few of them can make any remark without a painful pun in it and they’re all histrionic divas. But you know what? It’s fun.

I suppose it’s not really the done thing to admit publicly to enjoying things like Score! but I’ve already admitted to being an avid reader of the Chalet School and Malory Towers so I haven’t got much to be gained by pretending I have high literary tastes. I really like this book!

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