Marty MacDonagh’s glamorous Connemara pony mare is the supreme champion at Clifden Show. She is now expecting her first foal. But when the foal arrives, the cuaifeach is blowing – the wicked whirlwind, peculiar to Connemara, that wreaks havoc everywhere. The foal, like the cuaifeach, is spirited, mischievous and unpredictable. Marty soon finds himself in a state of exasperation as the unruly foal lands him in a series of embarrassing situations, traumatic to Marty but hilarious to onlookers …
Well, it’s actually quite alright! The landscape and cottage look vaguely Irish. However, when it comes to the horse, I have two issues: Number one, it’s looking a little too old for a pony that’s barely two years old at the most. Number two, I’m not sure what the foal is wearing. It’s neither a halter nor a bridle, so I’m confused.
This has been on my tbr since 2008, which is a little weird considering that’s the year I fell in love with all things Irish. Though, to be fair, I wasn’t a Connemara girl back then because I didn’t visit the first time I was in Ireland. It’s been on my reading list for four years now but it took me a very long time to finally get to it. The third book never been published in German and the difficulty to get my hands on a copy, makes up a huge part of the reason behind. I didn’t want to start the series before I knew I would be able to read all three books more or less back to back.
This is a weird book and I’m pretty sure I would’ve utterly disliked it if I had read it as a child or in my early teens. And here is why:
- The characters: For most part, the protagonist is a middle-aged man with marriage issues. Not really a person a young kid can identify with. He lives for his horses while his wife’s pretty anti-horse. But who can blame her considering Marty putting two horses before her time and time again. Only later on and for two brief scenes, a young girl, Doreen, is introduced. She’s pretty much like any pony girl ever: poor, has a knack for horses, and only ever wants the one which is going to cause trouble aka Whirlwind.
- The plot: All in all, this is about Whirlwind causing all sorts of trouble, being shipped off to an island, being sort of sold, causing a huge ruckus that ends in front of court, and so on. There were a couple of fun moments, like when he turned a pony show upside down. However, there were a couple of unusual parts as well. For example, there’s a whole chapter about a law suit, which was actually one of the most interesting and entertaining parts, even though I imagine it pretty dry for a younger audience.
- The general tone: It’s pretty bleak. It focuses on what it means to be living in the West of Ireland as a farmer, including money issues, the dependence on weather, crops, and their livestock, and the dark sides of (over)breeding.
However, I liked the Connemara-ness of it all. Knowing almost all the places mentioned, this was an interesting read and it made me a little secondhomesick. Let’s see where this series is going. I hope the second one will be more on the light side.