Ponies, ponies, ponies
To Hear a Nightingale
Michael Joseph, London, 1988, 496 pp.
Bantam, London, 1989, pb, 735 pp.
Set in America and Ireland, this book follows the fortunes of Cassie, who has a lot to contend with
before she can ride home in triumph. She falls in love with an Irish trainer, but finds the all-
Irish horse world hard to contend with.
The Nightingale Sings
Doubleday, London, 1996, 639 pp.
Cassie is the first woman to train an English Derby winner, with her horse The Nightingale. Life,
however, is not simple for her. She is alone in a man’s world, and her life is shadowed by the
early death of her husband. Cassie has to battle hard to keep her house and horse.
Charlotte Bingham was born in Haywards Heath, Sussex, to parents who were both writers. Charlotte left school at the age of 16, and went to Paris. She wrote, without getting published, for three years, until she was 19, at which point she wrote her autobiography, Coronet Among the Weeds, describing her time as a teenager growing up with aristocratic, bohemian parents and the “male flotsam of the English upper classes,” whom she categorised as “weeds, drips and leches”. The book was an instant success.
She went on to write Upstairs, Downstairs with Terence Brady, along with with many other television series, but is now concentrating on writing. Several of her novels are based firmly in the aristocratic world in which she grew up; two have an equine theme. Charlotte Bingham stayed when a child with her grandparents in Bangor Castle, Ireland, which presumably gave her an insight into the world of Irish horsiness.
Finding the books: both readily available, and both I think still in print.
Links and sources
Charlotte Bingham’s website