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Flambards by K M Peyton




2012, first published 1967

Orphaned Christina moves from one relation to another.  When she becomes twenty-one she will inherit a fortune but until then she must be her own person.  She is sent to run-down Flambards where her cousin Mark and her uncle Russell are obsessed with horses and hunting and where her other cousin William despises hunting and loves aeroplanes    

Christina faces a disturbing complexity of life: the unfairness shown to servants and members of the working class. This comes to a head when the groom Dick is dismissed because he has helped Christina save her horse that had gone lame and should have been served to the dogs. This escalates when Dick’s sister Violet is made pregnant by Mark. Dick and Violet’s mother ends up in the work house and Violet moves to London with the baby.  Dick reappears briefly to fight with Mark.   
Christina loves riding and hunting though remains in awe of it and is also a little afraid.

She is torn between the three young men in her life. She shares some tender moments with Dick yet that can never be as he is entirely the wrong class for her. She supposes she will have to marry Mark and is resigned to this if not enthusiastic.  In any case they share a love of horse-riding and there are despite his boorishness one or two affectionate moments between them.  It is clear by the end of the novel, however, that she is in love with William.

There are many ingredients of the teen and young adult novel here. The pace and tension towards the end had me turning the pages rapidly even though I know the story already.
K M Peyton presents a world that will not be very familiar to the twenty-first century reader. The ups and downs in Cristina’s emotional life will be.    

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