The Sport of Kings by C.E. Morgan
This thick tome was the fourth book I pulled out of my box and is possibly the one I approached with the most trepidation - it was over 500 pages long and about horses!
It has taken a long time to read this, well a long time for me anyhow - but I still don't know if I liked the book or if I even enjoyed it.
I was compelled to keep reading, the story for the most part was gripping and I wanted to know how it was going to play out. I liked the weaving of all of the threads together from the Forge's story, Kentucky history through to Allmon's modern experiences - they did all work together well. Even the parts about horses and horse racing were mostly interesting.
Here comes the but... the prose was so flowery at times that I lost interest in what was being written as I scanned to get to the next part of the plot. Sometimes this worked - especially in the scenes with Allmon and Scipio but for the most part it felt a little too showy.
By the end however I found it to be a bit rushed and all that slow build was just wiped away too quickly. I'm not sure I believed in the main character twist either.
I felt like I was watching the story through a window - I couldn't get close to any of the characters and while I see that the casual racism and sexism was integral to the story I found it all a bit too much - it felt the most real part of the narrative and that bothered me. I know that neither 'ism' has gone away but as they did feel so real I worry that these are the truest part of the book for Morgan.
I'm glad this book was shortlisted for the Bailey's Prize as I'd never have read it otherwise and I don't begrudge the time I spent on the book, ultimately it just wasn't for me.
Next up is Stay With Me - again a book I'd not come across before.