This book is entered in the 2013 Man Booker prize
The remarkable children's book 'Warhorse' touched a chord with readers worldwide. The story of one boy's relationship with his horse , set against the backdrop of the First World War, proved irresistible. What Michael Morpurgo did for children, Nottingham Writers' Club member, Jennifer Appleyard has repeated for an adult audience with her accomplished novel "Touch the Earth."
Set in rural Nottinghamshire a century ago, it draws together a cast of full and living characters who share triumphs and tragedy in equal measure. The author breathes such life into her heroine, Elizabeth O'Malley Sullivan, that her beauty leaps from the page. She is at the centre of a love story set on a stud farm in the fictitious Notts village of Oakleigh, where her passion in life is horses and riding.
But the Edwardian tranquility is about to be broken by war and its effect on all the characters, some good, some bad, is at times quite shattering. The other astonishing feature of Jennifer's literature is her grasp of the reality of battle and suffering. Her descriptive powers are to be admired and she adds a moving testimony to the memory of those who fought and those who fell. Surely, this is a movie just waiting to be made. Nottingham Post Bygones, 4 March 2013.
Thoroughly enjoyed Touch the Earth, couldn't put it down. Very well written and informative whilst relating to an intriguing and romatic plot. Highly recommended. Sue, reader review on Amazon.
I have had the pleasure of reading Jennifer Appleyard's book. It made for compulsive reading. I found the story line intriguing and the development of the characters skillful. Her feeling for words is immediately evident but it was her descriptive powers that really captivated me. Her literary talent, I feel, puts her among the greats. A book worthy of the Booker Prize. Father Michael Gallagher, St Teresa's Parish, Aspley.
I have just had the pleasure of finding a new author's debut novel. A wonderful story, beautifully written. For anyone with a love of history it's a must, with the added joy of a love story running through, If you are looking for a last minute Christmas present I would highly recommend this book and I can't wait for the sequel. Mrs. A. B. from Nottinghamshire.
The brutality of the 1914-18 War, a poignant romance, plus the unique bond that has always existed between man and horse have been skillfully combined by Jennifer Appleyard to produce a memorable and moving read. A 'must' for all horse lovers and a tribute to every horse that went to war. Carole Morland, Lunesdale Fell Pony Stud.
A love story on a powerful horse stud in the mid-Shires of England at the turn of the century, Appleyard recognises equines are more than just servants, and describes with tenderness the bonding some of us have been lucky enough to know... that of a "horse of a lifetime."
Life, death, scandal, suicide, mistrust, bitterness and deceit, are all here in this perceivable fiction which tells brilliantly how the living hell of the 1914-18 Great War cruelly blew apart almost every family in Britain, and of her Allies.
Nothing good about war, her descriptives of wounded troops are almost too hard to read, but this is raw history, and read it we must: 'Lest We Forget.' But it's much more than just another war tale. Starting quietly like an Edwardian afternoon, as the narrative unfolds it's difficult to put down; and rewarding, in that you will learn details of how rural England once was.
Midge Todhunter, ex-National Hunt jockey, horseman, journalist and travel writer.
Jennifer Appleyard lives in a small village west of Nottingham with her husband David. They have two daughters and eight grand children who spend school holidays with them, riding and helping at shows with their rare breed White Park cattle.
In the 1970s Jennifer first wrote the story of Elizabeth and James, inspired by her love of horses and her family's experiences during the Great War. In 2001 during the foot and mouth epidemic when activities were curtailed and the constant fear of the disease hung over them, she began to write again in earnest and, amongst other work, rewrote this story. She is currently working on a sequel.