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In Jilly Cooper's third Rutshire chronicle we meet Ricky France-Lynch, who is moody, macho, and magnificent. He had a large crumbling estate, a nine-goal polo handicap, and a beautiful wife who was fair game for anyone with a cheque book. He also had the adoration of fourteen-year-old Perdita MacLeod. Perdita couldn't wait to leave her dreary school and become a polo player.The polo set were ritzy, wild, and gloriously promiscuous.Perdita thought she'd get along with them very well.

But before she had time to grow up, Ricky's life exploded into tragedy, and Perdita turned into a brat who loved only her horses - and Ricky France-Lynch.

Ricky's obsession to win back his wife, and Perdita's to win both Ricky and a place as a top class polo player, take the reader on a wildly exciting journey - to the estancias of Argentina, to Palm Beach and Deauville, and on to the royal polo fields of England and the glamorous pitches of California where the most heroic battle of all is destined to be fought - a match that is about far more than just the winning of a huge silver cup...

773 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1991

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About the author

Jilly Cooper

83 books555 followers
Jilly Cooper, OBE (born February 21, 1937) is an English author. She started her career as a journalist and wrote numerous works of non-fiction before writing several romance novels, the first of which appeared in 1975. She is most famous for writing the six blockbuster novels the Rutshire Chronicles.

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5 stars
1,979 (45%)
4 stars
1,400 (32%)
3 stars
720 (16%)
2 stars
163 (3%)
1 star
50 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 130 reviews
Profile Image for Rachel.
376 reviews178 followers
December 24, 2021
I definitely have a soft spot for gingers, so the fact that Red was one of the biggest villains in the series saddens me.🥲
Despite being apathetic about polo, this was an entertaining (if trashy) read!
Profile Image for Jane.
Author 2 books15 followers
June 1, 2016
Horses, bad behaviour, and lots of orgasms. Polo is the third book in Jilly Cooper’s Rutshire Chronicles series and is, hands-down, my absolute favourite of the – currently – nine-book line-up. (I may be a bit biased, though, as this was the first Jilly Cooper I ever read and the sex scenes it contains have been indelibly burned into what was my (somewhat) innocent teenage brain. In fact, Polo was my introduction to the concept that more than one orifice could be utilised during intercourse …)

Polo was originally published in 1991 but re-reading it over twenty years after it first hit the shelves hasn’t resulted in any loss of enjoyment. The characters still feel over-blown and awesome, their carry-on both awful and wonderful, and their sexual shenanigans fun, hot and captivating.

Although Rupert Campbell-Black, the bad boy of Riders and Rivals, continues to make his presence felt in Polo, the stage belongs to ‘moody, macho, and magnificent’ Ricky France-Lynch (a nine-goal polo player suffering through personal tragedy) and fourteen-year-old, polo-mad Perdita MacLeod (who wants nothing more than to get Ricky into bed). A brilliant cast of charismatic supporting characters push the pair through the story, their actions outweighed only by their outstanding names (who wouldn’t want to jump in the sack with someone called ‘Red’, ‘Angel’, ‘Dancer’ or ‘Jesus’?).

Interestingly, something that’s remained constant for me through many readings of this book is Perdita’s spot in the limelight. Her interactions with the men who surround her – particularly Luke Alderton (who is my favourite character) – steal the show from Ricky, despite his equal billing. That’s not to say Ricky’s story is weak – it isn’t – it’s just that his bratty side-kick is very, very compelling.

I’m always intrigued by people’s reactions to Jilly Cooper: you either get ‘oh, God, no!’ or ‘she’s bloody brilliant’. Without a doubt, I’m in the latter group. Her writing is sharp and witty, she takes risks with her characters (they often do very stupid things and have questionable morals), and her story plotting and pacing are excellent. Further, while this book has been enjoyed, I suspect, by a largely female audience over the years, it seems that many men rate Jilly’s writing, too. (I recently had a male colleague proclaim Ms Cooper to be his favourite author.)

As someone who grew up riding horses – and still does – I found the equine elements of this book very enjoyable but you in no way have to be a pony-lover – or a polo enthusiast – to appreciate the story at hand. Fundamentally, Polo is all about relationships: the ones that are healthy and ones that aren’t.
Profile Image for Anna.
430 reviews47 followers
March 21, 2016
Original review

First read in my teens, this is my fave Jilly Cooper, just beating Rivals. Bonkbusting mayhem at it's very best, and I fell head over heels in love with Luke!

Today's review

Luke. Oh Luke. He was the stuff of teenage dreams. A gentle giant with muscles of steel and a heart of gold, he was madly in love with screwed up Perdita, who in turn was madly in love firstly with polo king Ricky and later with Luke's arrogant arsehole brother. He waited and waited and finally got his girl *sigh*, becoming one of my all time fave characters.

Not so much these days. Oh Luke, Perdita wasn't simply screwed up, she was a screeching brat who treated you (and everyone else) like dirt for six long years, and when she finally came to her senses and realised you were The One afterall, you should have done a Rhett. Instead you gratefully proposed and rode off into the sunset together. Gah. Grow a pair, mate.

So Luke went the same way as Billy from Riders in a re-read of that a couple of years ago: hero to zero, teenage idol to grown-up waster. Thank god for Rupert whose wicked glint continues to thrill from bastard badboy to loved-up softie!

With Luke falling off the pedestal, that vacancy went to adorably scatty 30-something Daisy who lives and loves in total chaos. Even more adorable is Taggie, my favourite character from Rivals, who along with hubby Rupert continues to be Cooper's star.

5 lovestruck Luke stars back in the day; 4 girls-rule stars for Daisy and Taggie today!
Profile Image for Bob.
36 reviews
December 4, 2015
The best thing about Jilly Cooper books is her female characters. They're very realistic.

They aren't all drop dead beautiful, model thin, and perfectly coifed. Their houses aren't always clean, and they're not all award winning journalists, or environmental activists, or renowned artists.

They're normal, average, women who sometimes stay in their PJs all day, watch "Neighbors", and eat ice cream right out of the carton.

They run out of clean underwear, don't always wash their hair, or bother with make-up. Nine times out of ten, those are days the guy they like decides to drop by unannounced.

Not that it matters because the guy falls in love with them anyway.

Which I think is cool beans.
Profile Image for Minty McBunny.
1,163 reviews27 followers
July 23, 2017
This series is, far and away, the absolute best trashy romance available in the world. Jilly Cooper puts all her *Rivals to shame. Whenever I don't have a fresh book handy, I just pick of any one of this series and know that I will be instantly transported. This is probably my 15th or higher read of this book and it's my favorite of them all. Best to start at the beginning though, and read them all, start to finish. If you love fictitious, ridiculously over the top, impossibly wealthy & beautiful people doing outrageous things and getting into all sorts of naughty trouble, with the bad guys/girls getting their just desserts at the end and the good ones living happily ever after, this series is for you.

* Pun intended = Rivals
Profile Image for Anthony.
105 reviews10 followers
May 13, 2021
Having absolutely adored Riders and Rivals, I must say it took a while to get into Polo. The lengthy descriptions of games led to me groaning every time it was match day! That being said, this book still has bucket loads of humour and as the story progresses you can't help but feel a connection to the main characters. Cooper does such a great job of painting a picture of her extensive cast you really feel like they are your best friends by the end. It must be said that Chessie France-Lynch was an absolute delight and made up for the lack of Janey Lloyd-Foxe! I also couldn't help but laugh out loud every time Sharon called out for Hoo-arn! Looking forward to reading the fourth instalment of the Rutshire Chronicles. Thank you Jilly!
Profile Image for Amanda.
707 reviews96 followers
July 16, 2010
Another summer bonkbuster from Jilly Cooper, but one I found more disappointing than Riders and Rivals. This story is presented as a backdrop to the first two books Cooper wrote that centred on Rupert Campbell-Black, covering the time he was with Helen and then his relationship with Taggie. Instead of show jumping or television, we are presented with the glitzy world of polo - from the clubs in the English countryside to the heat scorched yards of Argentina to the Hollywood glamour of Palm Beach.

Our heroine this time round is spoilt brat Perdita, who shows a stunning flair for polo and has sympathetic, loving relationships with horses and dogs, but not with people. She is brought up by long suffering mother Daisy and stepfather Hamish, with whom Daisy has had two more children. Perdita's father is absent for much of the book, but his entrance is explosive.

It is extremely hard to find any liking at all for Perdita - her every action is driven by her desperate need for attention. She shouts and screams to get her own way, and is never taken in hand by anyone. She cannot see the people who are good in her life and instead seeks out those who have money and can therefore help her reach the pinnacle of polo success.

For most of her life, Perdita imagines herself in love with Ricky France-Lynch - another brooding, arrogant loner in the mould of Rupert. Ricky, however, suffers enormous tragedy early on in his polo career and so it is much easier to have sympathy for his character. He is fighting to win back his wife, Chessie, and erase the memory of son Will, and much of his bad behaviour can be attributed to this.

So, things I liked: well, Cooper has lost none of her ability to tell a rip-roaring page-turning story and I enjoy the gossipy nature of her writing style. She is able to conjure up pictures of the polo world and the three very diverse locations in which much of the story is set. Once more, her love for horses and dogs leaps from the page since the polo ponies are the real heroes and heroines of the book. I loved the characters of Luke and Daisy, and was glad to see Ricky achieve the happiness he so yearned for.

Things I didn't like can be mostly summed up by one word: Perdita. This is one of the least likeable of the characters that Cooper has written so far - so much so that you actually begrudge her redemption late in the book and feel that she hasn't suffered half enough for the pain and heartache she inflicts on others. I also disliked Chessie, and could not understand for the life of me why Ricky would be trying so hard to win her back.

One other thing that bugs me about Jilly's books is the fact that all of the most beautiful women are slender and predatory. There is usually a place for a tubby cheerful sort - here, Daisy and in previous books the likes of Lizzie - but they are not considered the beauties of the piece. I understand that the books were written when thin equalled beautiful, but it is a shame that a more healthy body image cannot be promoted.

So, all in all, a book I enjoyed but not her best work.
Profile Image for Louise Culmer.
847 reviews42 followers
February 21, 2017
Polo follows the love lives of two women, scatty but lovable Daisy, and her daughter, the tempermental and estremely rude Peridta. perdita has two passions in life, polo and her employer, the taciturn Ricky. Daisy has a guilty secret - she doesn't know who Perdita's father is, and for this reason she puts up with all Perdita's rudeness and temper tantrums. perdita is madly in love with Ricky for about half the book, then suddenly and for no apparent reason falls in love with one of the other characters. Daisy too has her ups and downs, but naturally both women find True love in the end, after a lot of sex scenes and an awful lot of polo matches.

the biggest disappointment of the book for me was the gelding of rupert cambell Black, the cad, bounder and ruthless womaniser from Riders. Rider revolved around posh rupert's rivalry with the working class hero. Jake, and this was was gripping as you waited to see who would come out on top. But in Polo poor old Rupert has been tamed by his irritatingly perfect young wife taggy("pictures of perfection make me sick and wicked" - jane austen), and is no longer any fun, he just drools over her all the time. A huge disappointment. personally, I would have liked Rupert to get it together with Daisy, especially as - well, that particularly plot twist isn't that hard to guess at, you can see it coming a mile off. A wild Rupert was a lot more fun than a tamed one.
Profile Image for Amanda Jane.
49 reviews24 followers
July 8, 2012
Definitely my favourite Jilly Cooper ever. Mrs Cooper's stories are often called *romps through the Rutshire countryside,* and this romps like a thoroughbred polo pony.
The great joy ( aside from the dreamy men ) is how animals become characters as much as the people.

It contains some of my favourite Jilly Cooper characters. Daisy ( Perdita's mother ) is as absent minded and slightly eccentric as I am, and I love her for it. I've never been able to take to Rupert Campbell-Black somehow,
but Polo stars Ricky France-Lynch and Luke Alderton. Ohhhhhh yeah !
Profile Image for Jennifer Simpson.
32 reviews2 followers
May 28, 2012
Not quite my favourite JC....Rivals is hard to beat I think, but I still love this story as it arcs a couple of the other Rutshire novels so has a massive ridiculous cast of brilliant characters. Special mention to adjectives repeatedly used including 'heavenly', 'ravishing', 'piggy' and 'pouty'. If there is an alternate universe then I hope this is it.
Profile Image for The Book.
935 reviews22 followers
June 16, 2013
I love Polo! Ironically, Jilly Cooper introduced me to Robert Frost (as well as other things, which shall not be mentioned here). A very good read, keeps me hooked til the last page even though I've read it so many times it's falling apart.
Profile Image for Tisha Merry.
26 reviews41 followers
May 8, 2020
After Riders and Rivals i was SO geared up to read Polo! Sadly i didn’t particularly like/relate to the characters,especially Perdita! What a shame!
I’ll still stick with the series and pray the next book keeps me hooked!
Profile Image for Maria.
731 reviews55 followers
December 10, 2019
Am realizat tarziu ca aceasta carte face parte dintr-o serie, dar cum n-au legătura neapărat intre ele, merge. Am citit-o repede pt ca e usurica, dar nu mi s-a parut la fel de drăguță ca cealalta carte citite de același autor. Imogen mi s-a parut mai amuzantă și mai mișto scrisă.
După cum observ, autoarea are înclinații spre sport, pt ca in ambele romane, vb despre el. Dacă în Imogen a fost tenis, aici este polo.
Ii dau 3 stele pt ca nu m-a dat pe spate povestea... dar nu e rea.
Profile Image for HattieB.
319 reviews3 followers
September 17, 2022
This was a needlessly long read - often repetitive descriptions and one dimensional characters - and it felt dated with how the ultimate goal seemed to be "female character without agency wants to be rescued by man". Trashy fun if you're into that sort of thing, but I just want to move onto something else now.
Profile Image for Laura..devouring books like crumpets.
1,494 reviews90 followers
June 15, 2021
A reread.....

Ricky France Lynch and Luke rock the Pages with the British Humor and Heros (Love Luke)

Lets Not forget the Cotswolds biggest reformed Rake RCB!!!

Love these books so much!
Profile Image for Dark-Draco.
2,162 reviews38 followers
July 5, 2013
Ricky France-Lynch has three passions in his life - Polo, his son William and his wife Chessie. But when Chessie leaves him and his game suffers, he turns to drink and tries to persuade her back - tragedy strikes and he ends up in jail. Meanwhile, Perdita sulks through her school - all she wants to be is a polo player, marry her hero Ricky and become very rich. Her home life is suffering - her stepfather is having an affair and walks out, her mother, Daisy, isn't coping well on her own and is on the point of giving up. Perdita ends up working for Ricky, learning Polo in America, Argentina and England. While Chessie offers Ricky an ultimatum - setting him three tasks that he must complete before she'll return. As Ricky stresses over her, Perdita falls in and out of love and lust, and Daisy slowly falls apart, the novel slowly builds up to a great outcome.

Another great read - loads of rich and powerful people getting up to all sorts!! The return of Rupert Campbell-Black is cool, as is the continuation of his and Taggie's story from 'Rivals', even if it is a bit sad. I remember I was blown away by his links with Perdita when I first read this book many moons ago. Really enjoyable - can't wait to read the next one.
666 reviews89 followers
April 9, 2013
Polo follows the temperamental, immature but sports-mad Perdita, the illegitimate daughter of a gentle portrait-painter Daisy. Perdita's goal and dream in life to play polo under the tutelage of Ricky France-Lynch, a legendary polo player who has suffered some horrible personal tragedies and is only now finding his footing.

There is a huge cast of characters - probably JC's nicest and most functional romantic interest - Luke Alderton, madly in love with Perdita but giving way as she gets obsessed with his idiot brother Red; Chessie, Ricky's awful ex-wife; Angel - an Argentine polo player who dreams of playing against the English captain who tortured him during the Falklands War - my second-favorite scene in the book involves him and Bibi, his OTP - if you read the book, you know which one. In fact, I ship them a lot more than I do obnoxious Perdita with darling Luke, or even Ricky/Daisy. (Of course, my first-favorite scene is Rupert and Taggie's wedding. Aaaaaah, most romantic thing ever).

Profile Image for Ene Sepp.
Author 12 books87 followers
July 20, 2014
Ratsanikud meeldis mulle veidi rohkem, kuid tõenäoliselt seetõttu, et siis oli tegu takistussõidu maailmaga, mida ma veidi rohkem jagan. Polomäng on täiesti võõras maa. See muidugi ei tee lugemist vähem huvitavamaks ja kui ma suudan üle elada ning meelde jätta kõik need nimed, mis ühekorraga kaela valatakse, siis on viimast lehekülge keerates juba tohutult kahju. Mõnusalt hoogne lugu, värvikad tegelased ja põnevad sündmused. Tahaks juba teist osa lugeda.

Teine osa:
Kes vähegi on huvitatud ratsutamisest, peaks seda raamatut lugema. Minu jaoks on polo alati olnud kauge teema. Tean, et selline mäng eksisteerib ja sellega mu teadmised põhimõtteliselt piirdusidki. Nüüd on küll isu polomaailma ja polomängu kohta veelgi rohkem teada saada. Raamat oli nauditav, kiired ja põnevad sündmused ning kahjuks ka etteaimatava lõpuga. Kuid ma annan andeks, teos saab kõrged 9 punkti ja aasta lõpus ehk isegi maksimumi. Oleneb, mis teosed veel ette satuvad.
Profile Image for Kelly.
296 reviews1 follower
August 18, 2008
I love Jilly Cooper. She's just a fun read. This book sort of drug on in the middle and was hard for me to get through at points. So many people! So much sex! SPOILER WARNING: When one of the main character's horses dies, I was crushed. I don't know why that was important to the story -- I hated to see the horse die. I thought some of the more important relationships were rushed into while others drug on. But I loved it. I loved the ending because I wasn't anticipating it and I will always love Jilly Cooper!
26 reviews
January 16, 2015
Bottom Line: Good book. Pure gossipy goodness, reread

The best of all Jilly Cooper's books, Polo is a fun, playful read. Its not especially intelligent but it is certainly interesting - reading like a gossipfest between friends about the relationships of the horse people community. Also its a great read for horse people because the horses are written realistically, having personalities but no supernatural abilities. This novel is perhaps a guilty pleasure but its a pleasure none the less.
Profile Image for Rozaline.
14 reviews
February 23, 2015
Not as enthralling as the first JC I read - Jump; I had to push myself to keep going about 2/3rds of the way through.

But still, saying that, it is full of highs, lows, happiness, sadness, humour, tears, raunchiness, hatred and of course - lots of horses & polo! Which is always a winner as far as I'm concerned!

Quite a few characters to keep up with, all with different plot lines and dramas to follow; but I liked the way it ended.

A good book, I shall keep on the shelves to revisit another day.

Profile Image for Hannah.
13 reviews2 followers
March 15, 2013
Although Jilly's works are normally known for the raunch, I found this to be really interesting. Alongside the love story is some serious information on the game of Polo, of which I knew little. Although I am very interested in all equine sports, I had not had a lot to do with Polo and really enjoyed this part of the book.
However I hate Perditta (one of the main female characters) with a passion, although I think this was the intension.
Profile Image for Lindsey.
162 reviews
November 7, 2010
this was a fun book. i object to it being called trash. it was well written, full of zippy one-liners, and offered the reader characters that jumped off the page and shook either their fists or behinds at you. i love that.

my only complaint is that in this novel a certain robert frost poem i adore was totally over-quoted. god, was it ever. enough already! google another poem!
Profile Image for Louise.
54 reviews3 followers
August 25, 2012
Another corker from the Jilly Cooper typewriter. Loved the new characters of Daisy and Perdita. Absolutely loved Luke but loathed his conceited brother. Alejandro, Angel and the other glamorous polo players are hilarious and loveable. Bart and Chessie are wonderful and larger than life. Again another very well written book that hooks you from the start.
Profile Image for *Ash*.
28 reviews2 followers
February 5, 2016
I loved this book. My Dad recommended it to me when I was home visiting with nothing to do. I couldn't put it down. The closer I got to the end the less pages I read as I didn't want this enjoyable read to stop.
Profile Image for Megan Mclaughlin.
23 reviews2 followers
August 7, 2013
This is the first Jilly Cooper novel I ever read, having received it from a cool Canadian ex-pat in Germany. The humor, witty literary references, and pure escapism were just the thing for a homesick teenager. I've now read them all.
Profile Image for Vipin Goyal.
Author 11 books121 followers
August 26, 2013
After Riders, Jilly Cooper again spreads her magic by Polo. My city Jodhpur is also famous for Polo, after reading Riders and Polo I could look at a horse with better understanding and as a friend.
Wonderful book.
Profile Image for Missy Cahill.
469 reviews21 followers
August 5, 2015
A reread for the first time in around 6 or 7 years. Its still such a great book. I think probably my favourite of all her books. The characters are just hilarious and the writing is a scream. Perfect holiday read.
Profile Image for Ayesha Vardag.
30 reviews
October 26, 2015
Great fun read for glitz and a racy bodice-ripping posh pony story. Dripping with handsome bad boys and wild untamed beauties, as well as lots of designer labels and shallow social insights. Jane Austen supalite.
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