In this story Sue gives us a glimpse of England as railroads are just coming on to compete for the lucrative business of delivering the mail. She uses a mail coach driver, the coachman, to tell her story. We follow young George Davenport as he advances rapidly up the ladder of his profession, reaches a pinnacle of success and then faces the reality of the railroads destroying his industry.
I enjoyed the story and really enjoyed the historical notes included in 'about this book'. It was interesting to read more detail of the time and how this was woven into the story.
I like 'historical novels' where the writer 'fleshes out' the rather dull historical facts. It helps to imagine what life was like in those times.
This was both interesting and fun. It was nice for the main protagonist to have a romantic interest. It seemed very well researched and written and was enlightening to see that time period and cultural aspects of England from the side of the providers of services, opposed the side of the gentry lighting from the curb to hail "Cabby!" There were many more providers of services than gentry, after all.
Definitely a good read. Perhaps eventually our hero could have his own team and we could get to learn even more about the horses themselves - characters, foibles of their equine own personalities as well as their trials and tribulations. Speaking about 'providers of services!' Coachman was very well done and author Ms. Millard did a lovely job with it. I could definitely see myself purchasing the sequel as well. Deborah D.
This is a story from the perspective of one main character whose livelihood as a professional coach man is threatened by the emergence of the railroads. The characters are real in their behaviors and thoughts; the history is fascinating as it's easy to forget that railroads were not always a part of transportation. I would have loved more 'horse' content, but the overall story is a good read.
This is a book I didn't want to end. You don't have to love horses or carriages to love this account of the life of a coachman. I so enjoyed the story, the history and the detail. Sue Millard's scrupulous research results in an accurate portrait of a coachman's life in Victorian England. This book deserves a sequel.
That is actually my only problem with this book. The ending seemed a bit abrupt but maybe that is because I was enjoying it so much and wasn't ready for it to end. Obviously well researched and totally free of those annoying (to a carriage driver) mistakes in describing horses, harness and how they are driven.
This is a well-researched historical novel tracing the upcoming end of the equine coaching era and, the birth of steam trains and commercial railways. Sue Millard's expertise all things equine driving and livery makes for a delightful read. Written from the handsome and dashing George Davenport's perspective, the end of a life he loves is under threat and a change in lifestyle may be called for if he's to continue doing what he loves doing most: driving a four-in-hand team of horses.
With a life that is far removed from a cosy existence, George battles the elements atop a coach, handles fractious exhausted teams, and flirts dangerously with a particular barmaid who renders him a happy and contented soul, just so long as the road ahead stretches out before him. Soon the wonders of mechanical engineering and steam trains begin to blight his carefree life, and his little darling strumpet reels him in on a tighter rein than expected. Damned by change and loss of his job he sets out for London and once again is soon back doing what he loves most. With his now betrothed up North and the boss' daughter tempting him with flirty glances and suggestive letters George is aware Hell is before him. He has a marriage looming and the added dilemma of a young woman who holds his future in her hands and bedevils him at every given opportunity. No wonder then that he ponders how to win the day and, keep body and soul and love together in one package.
The Coachman is really an amusing tale of a reluctant Casa Nova, for George assesses horseflesh with the same twinkle in his eyes as he does that of the womanly form.
This author obviously spent alot of time carefully researching this book. The characters and the dialogue were charming. At times it may have seemed like the story was secondary to the information about the coaching. I suppose that would fit with the personality of the lead character. If you enjoy the time period, I recommend this book to you.