Troubador Penelope's Route

Released: 28/08/2020

ISBN: 9781800460690

Format: Paperback

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Penelope's Route

A Horseback Journey in Andalusia


Nearly sixty years after Penelope Chetwode, wife of Poet Laureate John Betjeman, ventured into rural Spain on a borrowed mare, Karen Considine follows on horseback in her hoof-prints. Her guide and companion is Penelope’s book, ‘Two Middle-Aged Ladies in Andalusia’. Among the many changes, she finds the enduring spirit of the Andalusian people unaltered.

Karen says, “I have been ‘exploring’ since I was around four-years-old, on foot and on horseback, always wanting to see what was hidden around the next corner and then ‘making maps’. My mother gave me Penelope Chetwode’s book when I was fifteen and I never forgot my determination to follow her ride one day. That day finally came when I retired, and I was off after her within the year.”

“Beautifully written and truly captures daily Andalusian life.” 
Richard Dunwoody MBE, Retired steeplechase jockey

I am so happy that you are all enjoying the English version of Penelope's Route and finding it "fun and enjoyable"! Thank you for such kind reviews on Troubador and Amazon. It has also featured in the Irish Field and Horse& Hound.
Only 40 copies left from 500 so I take that as a thumbs up!
My BIG NEWS is that the Spanish version "LA RUTA DE PENELOPE" has now gone to print and I hope to have it here to market from early ApriI. Many, many thanks to everyone who supported my fundraiser to get the this book translated and printed. I am looking forward to going round the villages I rode through and distributing copies.
However, everything is of course affected by the pandemic and book signings or gatherings of people are still impossible.
Glorious Spring here in Spain and our restrictions have been much less strict lately as Covid numbers drop. Lots of riding in the mountains and outdoor activity generally. All my other writing projects on hold though until we can travel freely between provinces.

Horse and Hound

The Irish Field (Irish Horse World)

If you enjoy cultural history, armchair travel or a smattering of Irish wit, you will not be disappointed by this account of a courageous adventure on horseback through Andalusia.
The humanity, determination and guts of the author will carry you along to the journey’s end.

by Margaret Stokes

Penelope's Route is a wonderful glimpse into the life of an author who has clearly dedicated her life to horses and adventures. From hypothermia, to near misses on precipitous mountain paths and the stoically ignored "chorizo finger", Penelope’s Route is a great choice for fans of equine-adventure. As well as the twists and turns of her challenging journey on horseback, the book also provides a colourful insight into Andalucían life and the history of the region, not to mention the many characters (and all too often guardian angels!) the author meets along her way.

by Jessica Maybanks

I re-read Penelope Chetwode's book "Two Middle-Aged Ladies in Andalucia" - written in 1963 - and then read Karen's book, which re-traces Penelope's journey some six decades later. Penelope's book was interesting about the hardships of life in rural Andalucia in the 1960's - a Spain that has long disappeared. She seemed a brave soul who was prepared to endure all sorts of hardship with a very positive outlook. Fast forward nearly 60 years and another brave soul with a positive outlook is Karen Considine, who re-created Penelope's journey on horseback. It was fascinating to compare the two journeys and to read about the changes in Spain over the last 60 years. However, what hadn’t changed was the generosity and friendliness of the people that both ladies encountered on their travels. Karen's fluency in the Spanish language enabled her to communicate with the people she met, and it was surprising that so many people remembered Penelope visiting their village. I found Karen's writing style to be more engaging than Penelope's - many of Penelope's thoughts and views are inevitably tied up with her privileged upbringing and her Catholic faith. Karen's descriptions of her journey are coloured with Irish wit and she demonstrates a real sense of fun, despite some terrible weather and plenty of challenges. Overall a most enjoyable read, with Karen's love for her horses, and her indomitable character and determination coming through on every page.

by Lindsey Butterfield

A most enjoyable, and readable, book. Karen invites us to accompany her along this ride into old memories, first recorded by Penelope Chetwode on her ride into the Andalusian wilds. The author describes her journey, riding her horses along the great mountains and the countryside of Andalucia.
Her friendly encounters with villagers and townsfolk along the way are most encouraging, and informative. She tells about the history of many folk living in the towns and villages, their survival of many trials, including the civil war, and their kindly assistance to herself and her horses.
She has in fact, opened doors to many of us, of which we have been unaware. I would love to drive up to the area, and see the Cazorla Nature Reserve, with all its wildlife!
One feels drawn to following in her footsteps, to go and see where she has gone, and to experience the same pleasure.

by Jennifer Vorwerk

In the course of this adventure the author takes us on a journey of endurance, joy, and even terror, whilst throughout revealing her depth of knowledge and love of the Andalusian peoples and landscapes, both of them in-dominatable and sometimes exasperating but never boring or pedestrian.

The Spain she traverses is for many city-dwellers " fly-over country" ,best passed through on the Autovia or by plane without too much thought. And yet it is in such places that the eternal heart of rural Spain, survivor of so many tragedies which would (and have) destroyed the spirit of less hardy breeds, lives on, nodding to the 21st century but not cowed by it.

Whether you know much or little of rural Spain you will be a lot wiser by the end of this story, written with a style and pace which makes it a real page-turner you won't want to put down.

by Edwin McAuley

Karen Considine

Irish but lived all over the place for work. Now settled in Southern Spain in a pretty village with three horses, a dog, a cat and a lot of wonderful Spanish friends.

Rides with friends

Back in Penelope country
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