Every woman loves a hero. Onstage, in film, in real life (ha!)... but the place a hero most comes alive for most women is between the pages of an exciting novel, allowing our minds to flesh out the bodies of characters created with words.
And the heroes don't come much bigger that Rupert Campbell-Black.
It was 1985, and the world was set on fire by the publication of Jilly Cooper's Riders, a hot, sexy novel about the world of horse-jumping and its randy, glamorous stars. None was more outrageous, more sexy, more naughty than bad boy Rupert Campbell-Black.
Our first glimpses of Rupert are not encouraging, and belie his hero status. He is described as a bastard, vicious, contemptuous; a horrible, poisonous man.
Highly competitive, the ruthless Rupert let no one stand in his way, without a care as to who he destroyed. He treats his horses better than he does humans.
So why does he set the pulses of so many women racing?
Show me one woman who doesn't secretly love a bad boy.
He is smooth, sexy and arrogant. Devastatingly handsome. He knows what he wants, and he gets it. Resistance is futile. Rupert has charm in buckets. He romps his way through Jilly's books, worming his way into our hearts and sending shivers of excitement down our spines with his sexploits. If Helen, his first wife, thought she had snared him, she was wrong. Rupert was a wild animal, totally out of control, with the ability to smooth-talk his way out of any situation.
That said, his loyalty is unwavering, when it is earned. Though he has many enemies – Jake Lovell, Roberto Rannaldini – his great friends are Billy Lloyd-Foxe, Declan O'Hara, and Ricky France-Lynch.
Then Rupert meets Taggie, and all bets are off. Who knew that this gentle, adorable woman would have the ability to bring this one-time cad to his knees, to tame the brutish beast of Rutshire.
Rupert and Taggie continue to crop up throughout the Rutshire Chronicles, delighting us as they grow old together, although they do take a backseat in the later books. The saga will continue as Jilly's new book, Mount! is to be published on September 8th this year. And - hurrah! Rupert Campbell-Black will be once again taking centre stage along with his horse, the aptly-named Love Rat. This is the book I have been waiting for.
Bring on the Bad Boy!
Vicki Bowles is a book blogger on Vikbat and on Twitter
Thank you so much Vicki for this great look at Rupert Cambell-Black. Although I have only read Riders and Rivals so far, I do love Rupert, and reading this post has brought back some great memories of the books.