The Grey Ghost

Carolyn Henderson’s Beside Me is based on her Grey Ghost, which she originally wrote for Caroline Akrill at J A Allen. If you’ve read that book, don’t assume you’ve already read Beside Me, because you haven’t. There are a few similarities, but Beside Me is a very different book.

Printing history
Forelock Books, 2014

Carolyn Henderson’s Beside Me is based on her Grey Ghost, which she originally wrote for Caroline Akrill at J A Allen. If you’ve read that book, don’t assume you’ve already read Beside Me, because you haven’t. There are a few similarities, but Beside Me is a very different book. I liked the original, but I love this version. It’s subtle, involving, moving: I read it for the second time at our local coffee shop, having forgotten that it made me cry the first time.

Corinne has a lot to contend with. She doesn’t fit in at school. She’s not, as queen of the school Penny makes clear, one of the cool kids. She is, Penny says, horses obsessed – Corinne says she’d rather look round a tack shop than Top Shop. And Corinne sometimes hears things, and sees things, that really shouldn’t be there. This doesn’t stop her being able to connect with horses: her favourite is Secret, an unbroken pony at the stables Corinne rides at. But the stables are closing, and all the horses and ponies, including Secret, have to be sold. There is no chance at all that Corinne and her careworker mother will be able to buy him, and Corinne’s mother takes a very dim view of Corinne’s ambition to work with horses.

Into all this comes new boy Luca, a Romany gipsy whose father is a horse dealer. Luca is particularly gifted with horses, and that’s what brings him and Corinne together, as Luca helps Corinne break Secret in. Entwined with the pony plot thread is a mystery surrounding Miss Meynell, whom Corinne’s mother cares for. Miss Meynell lives in a ramshackle house with ramshackle empty stables, and when Corinne wanders off to inspect the stables, something happens that has profound effects on all of them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Carolyn Henderson