Book name: Three Jays Go to Rome
Author: Pat Smythe
Publisher: Cassell and Co
Genre: Pony Books
Publication Date: 1960
Star Rating: 4/5
Pat Smythe wrote a highly popular series of pony books in the Fifties and Sixties featuring three imaginary young people living with her at her real-life home: Miserden in Gloucestershire, UK.
In Three Jays Go to Rome, Pat is preparing for the Olympics, where she will represent Britain in the show jumping for the second time, having previously represented her country in 1956.
The action begins the Christmas before, when Jacky and Jane develop a sudden interest in classical learning.
Pat guesses that this is a spirited attempt to wangle a school trip to Rome at precisely the same time as she hopes to be competing there.
Some of the early parts of the book also describe Pat training her horses, giving us a unique glimpse into the world of a leading equestrian.
Jimmy, the third jay, then co-opts Jacky’s cousin Darcy to organise their own driving holiday to Rome at precisely the same time.
The trip consists of Jimmy and Darcy travelling in Darcy’s car, and Jacky, Jane, two school friends and two school mistresses travelling in a Dormobile, where the women can also sleep.
Jimmy and Darcy stay in hotels as they drive through France into Italy and arrive in Rome.
The journey is described vividly, and the party arrive in Rome quite late in the book.
Darcy’s adventure continues when he overhears one of the Latin American jumping teams plotting to drug the other teams’ horses in order to win a show jumping medal by foul means rather than fair.
The three jays, Darcy and one of the grooms then swing into action by keeping a watch in shifts round the clock.
The latter part of Three Jays Go to Rome also includes Pat Smythe’s own first-person description of her riding in the Rome Olympics. This was a wonderful part of the book, and it again provided a unique insight into the life of one of Britain’s most famous sportswomen at the time.
I loved every moment of Three Jays Go to Rome. Each part of the book was very different, moving from Pat Smythe’s first-person account to her third-person telling of the journey overland.
Thank you for reading my review.
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If you fancy something different, you might like to take a chance on my review of For the Sake of the School by Angela Brazil.