Tuesday, February 01, 2011
Vanessa March was hoping for a holiday in Italy, but instead, her husband has been called away on business to Stockholm. But then she sees him in a newreel on the scene of circus fire in Vienna...with a young blonde hanging on his arm. So when a friend asks her to ferry her teenage son to Austria to see his father, Vanessa accepts, determined to discover the truth.
Without giving anything away, I will tell you that Lee has reason to be suspicious, and that the circus is at the center of the mystery. And then there are the horses... The circus owns a Lipizzaner stallion trained in the dressage movements and some of the 'airs above the ground' which are the military manuevers that have been taught at the Spanish Riding School for 400 years. It is the Lipizzaner that steals the show in this novel, but the suspense is first-rate.
In as many times as I've read this book, I've never made a solid attempt to do a little research on the Lipizzaner stallions and the 'airs above the ground.' This time, I found them on You Tube. And watching them was a delight. They are all white stallions, descended from the Spanish Andalusians, and it sometimes takes them years to learn the manuevers. In 1945 General Patton saved the animals from being destroyed by bombings or the encroaching Soviet army. There's even a Disney movie!
There is a much longer video as well, with tutorial, if you're interested.
As always, I highly recommend Mary Stewart and any one of her romantic suspense novels.