Barbara Cartland (1901-2000)

Dame Barbara Cartland was a British author, famous as a writer of romantic fiction of the Mills and Boon persuasion. At first glance, an unlikely addition to the website, however she has actually written a number of historical romances featuring horses. I am not going to include a huge amount of biographical information on her, as there is a wealth of it available elsewhere. So just a brief overview follows. She was born in Birmingham in 1901. Although born to a well-to-do middle-class family, they soon fell on hard times and young Barbara was no stranger to a life of struggling to make ends meet. After a spell as a gossip columnist, the adult Barbara soon turned to writing romantic fiction, a genre in which she was to become immensely popular and probably the world's most famous author of such novels. Ironically, considering her later books were criticised for their lack of sex, her first novels were extremely racy - and even sensational - for the time, and it was this that brought her to prominence as a writer and a celebrity. She wrote a staggering 700 plus books and also wrote under her married name of Barbara McCorquodale.

Her equine themed novels are all historical, focusing on a world where horses were far more prevalent than today. The heroines in these books are all keen riders and horse-lovers. There may actually be more horsy titles than the ones I have listed. If anyone knows of any others please drop me a line.

There is a website dedicated to her which has been set up by her daughter. 

Horse & Pony Books (Adult Fiction):

Reprinted a number of times in hardback and paperback and in large print.
Also published in the USA.
SUMMARY: Historical romantic fiction. The 'Pretty Horse Breakers' were a real life group of glamourous  Victorian women who rode in Hyde park, where they broke and showed horses for dealers, causing something of a sensation. Many gained wealthy admirers. The novel captures this little known and fascinating piece of equine history.

(CORGI PB 1979)
Paperback original.
Reprinted by Hale in hardback in 1991.
Also published in the USA.
SUMMARY: Historical romantic fiction. Alita is an orphan and something of a persona-non-grata, as her late father was found cheating at cards. She goes to live with her uncle who is a Duke, albeit a rather cash-strapped one. She helps out by running the stables and breeding horses. When a wealthy man moves nearby, romance ensues.
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(1st UK edition ARROW PB 1983)
Reprinted in paperback in the UK by Arrow and in hardback by Hale.
Also reprinted in paperback in the USA.
Also available in a 5 in 1 and 3 in 1 omnibus edition.
SUMMARY: Historical romantic fiction. Slight horse content. Indira, a lowly but beautiful  tradesman's daughter and a superb rider, becomes embroiled in a bet between three upper class gentlemen.

Reprinted in hardback and paperback.
Also published in the USA.
Easy to find in the UK and fairly easy in the USA, harder elsewhere.
SUMMARY: Historical romantic fiction. Another story set in the era of the 'Pretty Horse Breakers' (see above). A young country girl impersonates one of the female riders which leads to a shocking offer from a rakish peer.
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Paperback original, possibly not reprinted.
SUMMARY: A young woman falls down on her luck, with only her beloved dog and horse to give her solace.

Collectors Info:
A Dog, a Horse and a Heart is rare and may be reasonably expensive. I think there was only the one paperback edition. All the others were reprinted a number of times in the UK and in the USA and are easy to find in both those locations. Harder elsewhere, but not impossible. Riding to the Moon appears to have been first published in the USA and is actually a little easier to find there than the UK.