Riding High

Emily Brooks, Author Poseidon Press $19.45 (400p) ISBN 978-0-671-64922-7
Conjuring up a world of old money and stuffy traditions, a pseudonymous writing team laces this smoothly formulaic, commercial novel with references to the icons of the upper crust--Hermes, Porthault, Ferrari, Rigaud--shared by characters called Sheppard Coggeshall, Emerson Titsworth, Halcyon Pembroke and the like. On commencement day at Princeton in the 1920s, Charles ``Wirelegs'' Manville and his best friend Conrad Miles are disgruntled at their graduation gifts: each has been given 500 acres of ``scrag land'' adjacent to both their families' estates in Edgeville, N.Y., horse country. They decide that the one who ``jumps the most fences in the next 50 years'' will win all 1000 acres. Five decades later, Wirelegs, a widower, is terminally ill, his daughter Carlin is unsatisfied, and Conrad, married to ex-secretary Peg, is impotent. No one cares about the outcome of the bet, but everyone cares about the effect of sudden wealth, a fortune left by Wirelegs in a codicil to his will. Will Carlin choose motherhood or a career as an equestrian? Will Peg leave Conrad once she has money? Will Conrad regain his sexual prowess? The only thing distinguishing this novel from others in the genre is its veritable catalogue raisonne of the behavior and traditions of the horsey set. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
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