Review: Clara und das Glück dieser Erde (Clara, #1)

15th Oktober 2017
Clara und das Glück dieser Erde
YA •

Eigentlich hat Clara alles, was ein junges Mädchen sich nur wünschen kann: eine schöne, junge Mutter, ein eigenes Pferd, sie ist eine hervorragende Schülerin, sehr hübsch und bei ihren Klassenkameraden beliebt. Aber Clara ist unzufrieden mit diesem Leben, bei dem ihr alles in den Schoß fällt. Sie braucht Herausforderungen.

Als ihr Reiterfreund Matthias von einem Pferd verletzt wird, übernimmt Clara seine Aufgaben auf dem Reiterhof Zweibirken. Sie trainiert sogar das wertvolle Springpferd Aimée. Während der Zeit, in der sie Matthias neben Schule und Arbeit auf dem Reiterhof täglich im Krankenhaus besucht, stellen die beiden jungen Leute fest, dass sie mehr als freundschaftliche Zuneigung füreinander empfinden.

Heinrich, der Trainer von Zweibirken, erkennt Claras außerordentliches Talent und trainiert sie und Aimée für den Leistungssport. Clara zieht sogar die Aufmerksamkeit des Grafen Fehrenbach auf sich, der immer auf der Suche nach Nachwuchstalenten für den Olympiakader ist. Aber ist eine Karriere als professionelle Springreiterin wirklich das richtige für Clara?

The Cover

It’s not bad – except for the portrayal of the horse, really. I guess this is supposed to be Aimée, who’s described as dun in the novel. The horse on the cover’s far too reddish and looks more like a bay. For a professional show jumper, she’s got quite the unruly mane.

The Background

I’m not sure of what I’d heard first: the book or the ZDF Christmas series from the same year. I still haven’t seen the series and right now, I’m not so sure if I still want to. I probably will if I get my hands on it one day, but the book really put me off for the time being. Gah, and I had my hopes up!

The Story

The plot wasn’t even the problem here. It actually could have turned out a decent, fun albeit clichée novel. The elements of the plot aren’t new: competition between the riders, lots of training sequences, accidents resulting from the riders not doing what they were told, an almost bankrupt stable, a lot of important decision making, a blooming love story, and some family drama. The usual. Definitely not bad per se. The problem was the characters.

The Characters

Where do I even start?! I’m not sure I’ve ever read a book with such dislikable characters before (and it’s even getting worse in the second book):

Protagonist Clara just happens to be so skittish and irascible, it’s really hard to like her. Lord, she’s got a temper! If that weren’t the case, I’d actually have come to like her. She’s headstrong and has her own way with the horses – which is a lot less brutal and a lot more loving than everyone elses‘.

Her mother and father are both horrible. She just cares for his money and he throws around with it without actually caring about Clara’s wishes. They’re both way too egoistic to be good parents. I do understand why Clara overreacts but unfortunatley the whole conflict got on my nerves.

Matthias, Clara’s love interest, is a passionate rider, but he’s just so competitive he’s either pushing his horse too hard, not listening to the trainer’s advice, or being jealous of Clara’s success. He really isn’t great boyfriend material, but Clara doesn’t want to see that.

And then there’s Heinrich, the trainer. He’s got his bunch of secrets and a training style I’m not overly fond of. In fact, I don’t like it at all. He’s more old school, pushy, and hard on horses and riders. He also does a couple of really stupid things I really don’t understand.

There’s also a bunch of tertiary characters, which are actually the best: Matthias‘ little sister, Clara’s best friend and her grandmother, and the school teacher. And that’s about it. Oh, wait, the horses of course! They’re lovely. However, I loathe how it is depcited that Aimée needs a rough hand because she’s such a temperamental horse. That’s just plain wrong.

The Trivia / Oddities

I’m not sure how much the author knows about horses or at least the editor wasn’t quite there when they were needed. Clara’s first horse was supposed to be a black Norwegian. There are no black Norwegians. They’re all more or less dun, some darker, some lighter but pitch black is just not part of the Norwegian agenda. Plus, Aimée is a dun, which is extremely rare for a Thoroughbred Hannoverian mix. Not just rare but almost non-existent. Then there was the issue with putting short reins on Aimée. Although reins do come in different lengths, they never are truly what you’d call short. It’s the rider who determines the actual rein length.

Bibliographic Information
1993 by Loewe
Hardcover, 244 pages
ISBN-13: 9783785526408
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