Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Books, with Sarah Dale

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Books, with Sarah Dale

Article excerpt

MY ANIMALS AND OTHER FAMILY by Clare Balding (Viking, PS20, hb) "I HAD spent most of my childhood thinking I was a dog, and suspect I had aged in dog years.

"By the time I was 10 I had discovered the pain of unbearable loss. I had felt joy and jealousy. Most important of all, I knew how to love and how to let myself be loved.

"All these things I learnt through animals. Horses and dogs were my family and my friends.

"This is their story as much as it is mine."

Clare Balding grew up in a rather unusual household. With her father, a champion trainer, she shared her life with more than 100 thoroughbred racehorses, mares, foals and ponies, as well as an ever-present pack of boxers and lurchers.

As a toddler she would happily ride the legendary Mill Reef and take breakfast with the Queen.

She and her younger brother came very low down the pecking order. Left to their own devices, they had to learn life's toughest lessons through the animals, and through their adventures in the stables and the idyllic Hampshire Downs.

From the protective Candy to the pot-bellied Valkyrie and the frisky Hattie, each horse and each dog had their own character and their own special part to play. The running family joke was that "women ain't people". Clare has to prove them wrong, to make her voice heard - but first she had to make sure she had something to say...

SECOND TIME AROUND by Erin Kaye (Avon, PS6.99) A HEART-WARMING tale of love in the face of family and friendship, perfect for fans of Cathy Kelly and Maeve Binchy.

Divorcee Jennifer Irwin has it all - a successful interior design business and two loving children.

But as her 45th birthday approaches and her children prepare to start their own lives, Jennifer is left feeling lonely in her empty nest.

That's when she meets Ben Crawford -a man 16 years her junior -as their attraction heightens, Jennifer realises what she''s been missing.

Mindful that the small-town Ballyfergus residents would never approve, they conduct their affair in secret. …

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