Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Horse Dancer” as Want to Read:
The Horse Dancer
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Horse Dancer

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  15,614 ratings  ·  1,413 reviews
In a hidden corner of London, Henri Lachapelle is teaching his granddaughter and her horse to defy gravity, just as he had done in France, fifty years previously. But when disaster strikes, fourteen-year-old Sarah is left to fend for herself.

Forced to share a house with her charismatic ex-husband, her professional judgement called into question, lawyer Natasha Macauley's
Paperback, 518 pages
Published 2010 by Hodder (first published 2009)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Horse Dancer, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Kevin Kern The section referred to below, is not inappropriate, because it shows that teenagers are vulnerable to assault, to save something they love. And the g…moreThe section referred to below, is not inappropriate, because it shows that teenagers are vulnerable to assault, to save something they love. And the girl breaks free, before anything bad happens. It is a refreshing story of how good can prevail.
Amy It was published in 2009 in UK, now published in paperback by Penguin in 2017.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  15,614 ratings  ·  1,413 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Horse Dancer
Rosie Review
Sep 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: must-read
Finally a book which correctly describes my feeling and bond I have with my horse. I was lucky enough to have lessons with well known Classical Dressage instructor – and what JoJo has captured is so true and correct. Her acknowledgements dedicate this book to Mecca Harris a real life Sarah who was tragically murdered. I found the book so moving, and gripping. I could relate to it totally, the sacrifices made to be able to have a horse, the rewards and partnership you can have when you get it rig ...more
Jan 17, 2015 rated it did not like it
I've enjoyed other Jojo Moyes novels, but I found this one to be inane. So much of its conflict was unrealistic. Would an ex-husband and wife share their house together and accept a foster child? Would people give a woman a hard time for prioritizing her runaway foster child? Would a 14-year-old girl really prepare to prostitute herself for back rent without even trying to ask for help? Why did Cowboy John smoke dope in a car? How could a rider and horse run along a freeway and jump over a car? ...more
Originally posted on The Book Nympho

I’m not a horse person but have always been fascinated by these magnificent animals and the people obsessed with them. One of the things that worked about this story is how you didn’t need to have background information to appreciate the world, conflicts and issues.

Henri Lachappelle was part of an elite French calvary skilled in an art form of dressage dating back over 250 years. He’s a widow living with his 14-year old granddaughter, Sarah, who he’s training
Rebecca McNutt
Considering I'm not really into either animal stories or romance, I'm not sure why I decided to read this book. Someone in my Law class had actually recommended I read it back in September because of main character Natasha, but with school and all I had forgotten about that until a few weeks ago. One way or another, I really loved The Horse Dancer. In it two unlikely friends (both of whom are balancing hectic and unpleasant lives while dreaming of better career and lifestyle prospects) try to he ...more
Karen ⊰✿
Jan 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
I feel so sad marking a Moyes book as 2 stars. Maybe it is 2.5. But I was so disappointed with this book, it is a far cry from the other 8 books of hers I have read.
Mostly the book was too long, and not much happened. The things that did happen I didn't find overly believable and one of the main characters was just annoying and frustrating. There was also some strange flashbacks to the Grandfather as a prologue and later in the book that I felt unnecessary. Just a bit of a mess of a novel really
RoseMary Achey
Apr 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Something was "off" about the main characters in this novel. They were not 100% solid or fleshed out properly. A story of several characters learning to trust after a traumatic events the novel takes place in contemporary London. A young couple are in the midst of a divorce when a 14 year old foster child enters their lives.

It is an enjoyable enough read, not just one of those books you want to tell all your friends about.
Mar 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
With THE HORSE DANCER, JoJo Moyes has written a poignant story of relationships—primarily, the relationship of a young girl named Sarah, her grandfather, Captain, and their dream of Sarah becoming an elite horseman with the Le Cadre Noir in France with Sarah’s beloved horse, Boo.

Sarah stables Boo in London’s Sparepenny Lane under the watchful eye of Cowboy John and his sketchy acquaintances. Sarah is introduced to Maltese Sal, a man who runs “things” in this area and is feared by most.

When Cap
I won, I won, I won!!! So happy to be receiving this book soon by one of my favorite authors!

I finally finished this book that I won quite a few months ago. I keep getting books from the library which need to be returned so I kept putting this one aside. JoJo Moyes is a favorite author of mine but to be honest, this is not my favorite book of hers. Maybe it’s because I’m not really a horse person. Of course, it’s well written and I would give it 3 and a half stars if I could.

Anyway I’m very than
Beth (bibliobeth)
Mar 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
In my quest to read one of my favourite authors back catalogue, The Horse Dancer was next on the list and, I have to be honest, was a book I was quite wary about reading. I'm not really a "horsey" kind of girl although I love animals but rest assured, you don't have to know a whole lot about horses to appreciate this lovely, uplifting novel. As with many of Jojo's books we have two stories running concurrently and we hear the points of view of many of the main characters alternately. The first s ...more
Jul 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: animals
As a young man, Henri Lachapelle is the star of La Cadre Noir, an elite group of horsemen in the French city of Saumur. But when he meets Florence, it’s love at first sight and he gives it all up to be with her in England. Now, he lives on a London estate with his granddaughter Sarah but his dream lives on. In a stable under railway arches, lives Boo, a Selle Francais he bought as a colt for Sarah; together they train him and he gives them purpose. But when Henri suffers a stroke, Sarah must go ...more
Dec 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
The Horse Dancer was a beautiful book and one I thoroughly enjoyed reading. Jojo Moyes really is a talented author who manages to weave her words into your mindset and turn her characters into your friends/colleagues/acquaintances; they really could be people from your life.

As someone who has horses featuring largely within my own life, I don't always enjoy reading books about horses or with horses featured, mainly because lack of knowledge, and therefore incorrect content, on the authors part
Suzn F
May 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Have the Hankies Nearby!~I dare the reader/listener to keep a dry eye. This book about a young girl and her horse and her foster "family" made me feel and held my interest every in chapter. Jojo Moyes is becoming a favorite for me. This is the second book from this author I've truly enjoyed. And this one had a horse as a main character who develops a unique bond with his young rider. This is a story with adventure, family bonds, romance, betrayal, danger and redemption. I so enjoy a book that in ...more
Aug 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
4.5 stars
Jul 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
I've written this review for Really Into This

Check out all of our reviews at
Happy Reading, friends!

I love me some Jojo Moyes. I’ve read a ton of her stuff. I follow her on Twitter & I think she’s smart, lovely & her stories stick with me. I often think about the whales from Silver Bay. The crazy road trip in One Plus One with Jess & her son was a perfect summer read. Me Before You & After You were both so amazing & I still think of Lou when I see a pair of crazy shoes.
Meg - A Bookish Affair
Apr 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2017
3.5 stars. "The Horse Dancer" is the story of Tash and Mac and their marriage that is falling apart. It's the story of Sarah, a young teenager, whose grandfather gets sick and threatens to rip apart the only thing that has given her life stability: her love of horseback writing. Told with Moyes' signature heart and memorable characters, this book will drag your heart through the mud and leave you with hope and happiness.

I'm not a horse fan but I am an animal lover. I loved the bond that Sarah ha
Jan 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: contemporary
There are definitely some things that this author does well. I love the depth of emotion that she can pour into her characters. That is the main reason this gets 3 stars, otherwise it would have been 2 stars. This wasn't my favorite book by this author.

This one started slow for me. I wondered how much of that info in the beginning could have been doled out throughout the story (when needed), or even deleted. I also had too many questions. Something would happen in the story and then I would won
Jun 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, kindle, library, x2017
Not being a horse person, I was hesitant to start this book. In the end, Boo is a horse I will long remember along with his owner, Sarah, and the people who cared for her.
Meg - A Bookish Affair
May 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, 2017
3.5 stars. "The Horse Dancer" is the story of Tash and Mac and their marriage that is falling apart. It's the story of Sarah, a young teenager, whose grandfather gets sick and threatens to rip apart the only thing that has given her life stability: her love of horseback writing. Told with Moyes' signature heart and memorable characters, this book will drag your heart through the mud and leave you with hope and happiness.

I'm not a horse fan but I am an animal lover. I loved the bond that Sarah ha
Aug 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I haven’t read any of JoJo Moyes books before and I have always wanted to give some of them a go so I saw this and decided to try it.
I wasn’t too sure if this would be my cup of tea as its not usually the type of book I would read but I was pleasantly surprised.
This started off as a slow burner for me and I started thinking that I might not finish it but it soon captures my attention and I ended up not wanting to put the book down.
Its all about a young teenage girl called Sarah who wants to j
Aug 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
To be perfectly honest, I wasn't sure about this book in the beginning. It took me about 75 pages to get into. I was shocked, especially since I have enjoyed other books by this author. I ended up totally getting into the story, glad I stuck with it. A great book about 14 year old Sarah, her horse (Boo), and the struggles she overcomes. Strong, emotional book. Yep, you guessed made me cry in several places! Would I recommend this? Absolutely!
Mar 07, 2017 rated it did not like it
I received this book from Netgalley in return for an honest review. I really wanted to like this book because I really like Jojo Moyes as a writer, but I could not get into it, and did not even finish the book. The story takes place in two different time periods, and the story of Florence (the story in the past) was very boring.
Jan 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary, romance
4.5/5. There was so much drama involved in this book, but the ending...... It was all I could have wished for. Such a lovely book~
(ツ) Hache
Oct 11, 2014 rated it liked it
The last 2 days of reading this I was glued to it(I didn't have anything better to do) I wouldn't exactly say its a must read, more like if this was the only book laying around in your house then you would read it.

I had no interest in horses before I started this, but considering this is by Jojo Moyes I just had to read it. I can definitely say now that I have a different perspective of them and will now look at them in amazement. The beginning had a lot of terminology involving the way a horse
Lisa M
Jan 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't really know what this was going to be about but it turned out to be such a beautiful story filled with love, hope and real grit. Ok I had to suspend disbelief with the latter part of the storyline but it was so well written I could forgive that. I think my affinity for horses did enhance my enjoyment but regardless I would definitely recommend it.
Apr 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, read-2014
This was a bit slow to get started; there are two stories at first, running alongside each other. One is of an almost-divorced couple who have to sort out their house and hope to do so amicably. Mac is a cheerful photographer, Natasha is quite an uptight lawyer. The other storyline features 14-year-old Sarah and her elderly grandfather who used to be a professional rider in France. Sarah adores her horse and works hard to learn the moves in 'Airs above the ground' - then disaster strikes.

Apr 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, own, audio
I need a name like JoJo Moyes. It has such a nice cadence to it. Of course, I like my name as well,so perhaps I will just think up a name like Ms. Moyes' for when I write my great novel. HA!

Whenever I see Moyes' name on a book, I know I will enjoy it. Her books have drama, which I don't always like, but they are well written, long enough get to know the characters and care about them without being so long, like Outlander that I just want the madness to stop. The Horse Dancer is no exception. The
Sep 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Oh Jojo Moyes, you are such a great storyteller! This lovely book is about Sarah (a displaced child) and how her relationship with her horse Boo saves her life. The relationship also saves the lives of the estranged couple who foster her. I learned so much about urban horses. There is wisdom quoted at the beginning of each chapter from "Xenophon, On Horsemanship", a real source! Set in modern day London, the speed and stress of the modern world is set in juxtaposition to the care taking of horse ...more
Aug 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
I am a big Jojo Moyes fan, not so much of horses, but it is so well written it draws you in, to the point I found myself googling the equine school, le Cadre Noir.
Sarah the young girl, at the centre of the story is well portrayed, her relationship with her French grandfather Henri, a delight.
Natasha the solicitor, takes a bit of warming up to, whilst Mac her husband, is likeable immediately.
As always with Jojo Moyes, a great read, not one you want to put down, I will be reading more.
May 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chick-lit
This is a sweet story. There's a couple getting divorced, a young girl needing a home and an animal. You pretty much know how things are going to go, but you can't help getting your heart involved. Of course there are characters I didn't mention, and the girls devotion to the horse is an inspirational story itself. This book has a lot of emotional moments. I enjoyed it.
Deb Carlberg
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have always loved stories about horses, and this one did not disappoint. I even discovered that there is and has been an elite school in France called Cadre Noir de Saumur has existed for centuries. The instructors train horses to do unique and monumental things, such as le capriole (check it out, if you don’t know about it.)
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Tuomiopäivä ensi tiistaina
  • Taking Off (Equestrian Romance Series Book 3)
  • Postscript (P.S. I Love You, #2)
  • Half a World Away
  • Wrong Lead: Dream Horse Mystery #3: A humorous romantic mystery
  • Sotaleski (Syrjästäkatsojan tarinoita #7)
  • One Minute Later
  • The Butterfly Room
  • Westend
  • The Flatshare
  • The House at Silvermoor
  • Yösähköä (Majatalo Villa Venla, #2)
  • The Sun Sister (The Seven Sisters, #6)
  • Pukija (Syrjästäkatsojan tarinoita #8)
  • The Love Child
  • After the End
  • Blood Orange
  • Cilka's Journey (The Tattooist of Auschwitz, #2)
See similar books…
Jojo Moyes is a British novelist.

Moyes studied at Royal Holloway, University of London. She won a bursary financed by The Independent newspaper to study journalism at City University and subsequently worked for The Independent for 10 years. In 2001 she became a full time novelist.

Moyes' novel Foreign Fruit won the Romantic Novelists' Association (RNA) Romantic Novel of the Year in 2004.

She is mar

Related Articles

    Need another excuse to treat yourself to new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
49 likes · 18 comments
“Sometimes it took only a few words of faith to reilluminate a spark of confidence that the future could be something wonderful, instead of a relentless series of obstacles and disappointments.” 4 likes
“he said, that the only way to achieve something magical was through work and discipline” 1 likes
More quotes…