Thursday, 3 March 2016

The Drover's Dogs by Susan Price reviewed by Karen Bush


Whether you’re a dog lover, a fan of historical fiction - or none of those – The Drover’s Dogs is a thoroughly good read from start to finish. Ten year old Sandy’s life is pretty tough, but it gets worse when his mother is forced to sell him in order to make ends meet. When he runs away from his abusive master, she makes him go back, and the outlook is pretty bleak. He decides to run away again, but there won’t be any welcome for him at his old home, so there is no point in going there … He sets off with no real purpose other than to put some distance between him and the cruel farmer, and ends up joining two dogs on their way home after helping to take cattle to market. Who is looking after who? And what will Sandy find at journey’s end?
I wasn’t sure whether this book was really going to be my cup of tea, but I really shouldn’t have doubted that Susan Price would once again produce a terrific story. If a long walk across Scotland doesn’t sound very exciting, read this book and be prepared to revise your opinion: as always, Price brilliantly brings her characters to life, has a keen eye for detail which adeptly conveys the harsh realities of the period – and there is real excitement and moments of high drama too. It gripped me from the very first page and was very difficult to put down: so difficult in fact that I sat up very late at night so I could finish it in one glorious helping.