"for horse lovers and Sarah Harrison's faithful fans"
Overlooking the English village of Church Norton is a
leaping horse carved into the hillside many centuries ago.
That ancient steed has been the silent observer of the
In the 1850s, Harry Latimer falls in love with his
brother's wife Rachel. A cavalry officer, he sets off for
some forsaken place in the Crimea to insure the sun never
sets on the English Empire.
In the 1960s, Wyoming resident Spencer returns to England
where he fought during World War II. Spencer needs closure
to the greatest moments of his life when he gave his heart
and soul to Janet.
Singer Stella Carlyle reflects on her life that is marked
in her mind by a series of failures. She wonders about her
failing music career and even worse her relationship with a
married man that is going nowhere.
The Horse and other steeds link these three novellas, but
outside of that and locale they have little in common.
Though well written, the book is an apparent parable of
life using birth, death and rebirth of horses to symbolize
mortality. However, the plots seem disjointed and over
blown so that except for horse lovers and Sarah Harrison's
faithful fans, most readers will find the tales too
difficult to connect with on any level.
Reviewed by PNR Group Member
Posted August 11, 2002
In the tradition of her epic masterpieces such as The
Flowers of the Field, Sarah Harrison returns to the high
quality storytelling that readers have come to love and
cherish in The Grass Memorial, a sweeping novel that
seamlessly weaves together three compelling stories that
cover continents and spans generations.
The leaping chalk horse, carved into an English hillside in
the Bronze Age, stands witness to centuries of human
endeavor. For Stella, raw from the hurt of a long-standing
love affair with a married man, it represents home-
sanctuary from the adrenaline-fueled highs and
corresponding lows of her career as a singer. Stella is
tough, talented, spiky, and funny; adored by every man in
every audience but a loser in love.
Writer Spencer McColl is a veteran of World War II, an
American ex-fighter pilot with bittersweet memories of his
glory days in the village of Church Norton, and of one girl
in particular. Now in his seventies, he's making a last
sentimental journey from Wyoming to the England of his
mother's childhood, and the white horse, to pay tribute to
The Latimer family estate of Bells, in the shadow of the
white horse, represents the best of the Victorian values,
but is touched by tragedy. When younger son Harry Latimer
sets off to the Crimea as a captain in the Hussars, he does
so with a heart burdened by his undeclared love for his
sister-in-law, Rachel. The terrible reality of the
battlefield, where mismanagement and disease prove as
deadly as the enemy, provides a bitter contrast to Harry's
memories of the tranquility of his rural home.
Stella, Spencer, Harry-each marches to the tune of a
different drum, but all three march with stout hearts and
heads held high, to meet life face on. The Grass Memorial
is an absorbing exploration of the two great preoccupations
of the human condition: love and war.