The Naseby Horses by Dominic Brownlow Louise Walters Books December 5th 2019
“‘I only know Charlotte is not dead. I feel it within me, her heartbeat the echo of my own. She is with me still. She is near. I have to save her, for that is all in life I have ever been required to do.’
Seventeen-year-old Simon’s sister Charlotte is missing. The lonely Fenland village the family recently moved to from London is odd, silent, and mysterious. Simon is epileptic and his seizures are increasing in severity, but when he is told of the local curse of the Naseby Horses, he is convinced it has something to do with Charlotte’s disappearance. Despite resistance from the villagers, the police, and his own family, Simon is determined to uncover the truth, and save his sister.
Under the oppressive Fenland skies and in the heat of a relentless June, Simon’s bond with Charlotte is fierce, all-consuming, and unbreakable; but can he find her? And does she even want to be found?
Drawing on philosophy, science, and the natural world, The Naseby Horses is a moving exploration of the bond between a brother and his sister; of love; and of the meaning of life itself.
I am a big advocate of supporting independent presses and this novel jumped out at me and I knew I had to read and be part of the blogtour.
It didn’t disappoint as Brownlow skilfully mixed the real and mythical with a unique look at the love between brother and sister.
Simon wasn’t really your average teenager, one who suffered severe epileptic fits, that gave him an aura. It was an aura that made him seemed removed from those around him, as though he was looking from the outside in. It was interesting to see how people treated him as they searched for his missing sister, as if maybe he knew more than he let on.
Indeed, Brownlow was quite ambiguous on this front, as he made the reader doubt Simon on numerous occasions.
As Simon sought answers, he drew us into the history of the house, of the fenland area and its historical connections with the Battle of Naseby of the conflict that once existed. It opened up the fable of the Naseby Horses, of the events that followed that somehow seemed linked to Charlotte’s disappearance. Was it merely coincidence or was there a connection? I for one was never quite sure, my realistic head often the dominant one, but that was Broenlow’s skill, his constant questioning of what was real versus the mythical.
Brownlow’s narrative was superb, his descriptive prose deep, with visual overload that was at times intense. He somehow managed to get across Simon’s anguish, but also his sensitivities, his loneliness, his affinity with birds and the surrounding landscape. There was his deep sense of loss at the disappearance of Charlotte but also an absolute belief that she would return, that they would see each other again.
The Naseby Horses was one of those novels that was never going to be straightforward, that wouldn’t give you the answers you wanted nor expected. It was measured, intense and beautifully written and I for one will be very interested to read what Brownlow will write next.
I would like to thank Louise Walters Books for a copy of The Naseby Horses to read and review and to Emma Welton fo Damp Pebble Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.
About the author
Dominic lives near Peterborough with his children. He worked in the music industry as a manager before setting up his own independent label.
His debut novel The Naseby Horses will be published in December 2019.
Dominic tweets @DominicBrownlow
Dom’s favourite novel is Climbers by M John Harrison, and his favourite novella is Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter. His top poets are John Cooper Clarke and Nigel Blackwell.