The Light in the Dark- book review and prize draw

The Light in the Dark- A Winter Journal

Horatio Clare

Published by Elliott&Thompson

£9.99 ISBN: 978-1-78396-462-8

There have been times when I’ve stood and stared in despair at the depths of human cruelty. One winter, in a muddy field on the boundaries of our village, I came upon a heartbreaking sight. Four ponies lay, dumped, one on top of the other, their necks broken, legs tangled. Filthy, caked in mud, flea ridden, they had literally been tipped out of a truck and left in a pile. Such sickening callousness. It’s a sight that will never leave me. Sadly, the perpetrators were never found. I raged for a long time. Such a senseless act. Why couldn’t they just have handed them over to someone who’d care. It made me unhappy for a very long time. Then one day on twitter, I saw an appeal for a pony called Eggsy. He’d been abandoned, left to starve, and was in a very poor state. But this time, the story has a happy ending. Carol Caton rescued him and set up a Go Fundme page for support. Since then, I’ve been regularly sending funds their way. I couldn’t help the ponies dumped as if they were unwanted trash. But I can help Carol. There’s a link at the bottom of the blog if you’d like to learn more.

What has prompted me to tell you this story? Well, in Horatio Clare’s new book, The Light in the Dark, he writes about his own sad discovery. I won’t spoil the book by revealing the details. Suffice to say he describes the discovery as “a nauseous thump in the gut, and a sudden hard drum of the heart as the world narrows, my vision tunnelling.” Travelling to his mother’s farm to face the crisis he says “Somewhere between Newtown and Llandrindod a rage bursts in the pit of me, a howling, violent thing exploding, and the furies come screaming out, and I roar in the car.”

But, the book is not all about grief and tragedy. It is a story of hope. It’s about overcoming the pain and sadness in life, and finding a way through the dark.

“Let grief be a fallen leaf, at the dawning of the day. Let grief be a fallen leaf, I think. There is much to do. And indeed, the days that followed the winds blew, the leaves fell and winter’s occupation began. ”

The Light in the Dark is a journal written from October to March. It’s a deeply moving account of surviving depression. Seasonal sadness, the winter blues, depression are widespread in the cold, dark months. Horatio Clare struggles to eat, to sleep, to work. But by “looking outwards, by being in and observing nature,” we can all learn to celebrate winter. It is magical to witness how the natural world becomes his salvation.

It’s impossible to put the book down. We are travelling on Clare’s journey, sharing moments of despair and joy. Beautiful words carry us along.

The book more than shines a light in winter, it beams! A brilliant, radiant, glowing light. For many, it will be a beacon of hope, leading the way to spring.

Please feel free to share this post. Leave a comment if you’d like to be included in the prize draw. The publishers have one copy to give away. Names will be randomly selected.

Links :

Eggsy :

Eggsy on twitter

15 thoughts on “The Light in the Dark- book review and prize draw

  1. A thought provoking post Karen, thank you. I will look out for that book as the nights grow longer. I think it is human nature to be affected by horrendous images like that – what kind of person wouldn’t be? The challenge for all of us is to find ways of reminding ourselves that most people are good, caring, compassionate and trying their best even at times when it seems as if the world has lost its senses. I suppose that is one of the reasons we find solace in gardening and in reading or writing blogs like this because gardening is a caring, creative and positive way of interacting with the world around us that encourages us to cherish small things and to do as little harm to the world as possible.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Keith. Those are my exact sentiments. I agree with everything you’ve said. Someone despairingly asked on twitter, what can be done? I replied, take joy in small things and help one another. Thank goodness there are enough like-minded people to hopefully make a difference. My grandmother always used to say one small kindness won’t change the world, but it will make a difference to the subject being helped. Thanks again for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. How sad that those ponies were just disposed of like rubbish – and so sad that you had to see it too Karen. I am not sure how I would have coped with such a sight. The book sounds as if it would provide the lift we sometimes need in the dark time of the year.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Karen who threw those poor dead ponies are not human beings or animals: they are unscrupulous murderers. No wonder you felt so bad, I would get angry and cry at the same time of helplessness and grief. Luckily there are very good people like Carol Caton who picked up the pony Eggsy who looks so happy in the photos of the tweet link: I’m very happy for him. Congratulations to the winner of the magnificent book “The Light in the Dark”, enjoy it this Fall. Karen love, health and strength for your whole family and for you. I hope that the floods have already passed and that now only the cleaning works remain. Hopefully your dear Mother’s house has not been affected by water, nor the Nursing Home where your in-laws live. I wish from the heart that the sol should come out and the temperatures rise so that everything dries and the waters return to their channel. Take care of your whole family. Affectionate greetings from Margarita xxx

    Liked by 1 person

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