Rutshire Chronicles Books In Order

Publication Order of Rutshire Chronicles Books

Riders (1985) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Rivals (1988) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Polo (1991) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Man Who Made Husbands Jealous (1993) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Appassionata (1996) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Score! (1999) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Pandora (2002) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Wicked! (2006) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Jump! (2010) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Without question, the Rutshire Chronicles ranks among the finest of English romance in modern fictional novels. Authored by Jilly Cooper, the series narrates a crafty tale of ordinary folks in contemporary British counties, in the web of romance. The series is now on its ninth chronological book, progressively featuring thrilling, exciting and highly addictive tales of romance. Some characters in the series occur in several novels, or are characters in her other fiction books besides the Rutshire Chronicles, most notably in the Pandora and Wicked. Most notably is a womanizer by the name Rupert Campbell-Black, who features in the series and in several other fiction books by Cooper.

Nonetheless, all the nine chronological books in the series have all adopted a unique plot and theme, making each a standalone novel. Since the launch of the Rutshire Chronicles in 1986, the series has in many ways redefined English romance. From the non-traditional lifestyles of British families, where the upper-class status only perpetuates deception, to the polo crowds where love stories are punctuated by promiscuity, the Rutshire Chronicles provides a third-person perspective of modern-day English romance. The series is an integration of adultery scenes, the lure of scandalous love stories, the fate of illegitimate sons, and realities of fatal love within the setting of a fictional English county.

A Brief Biography of Jilly Cooper

Born in February 1947 in Essex, England, Jilly Cooper (Order of the British Empire) has earned a prestigious position among modern English authors. Between 1957 and 1959, Cooper initiated her career as a journalist, reporting for the British national press. Soon however, she ventured into non-fiction writing. In 1969, her first non-fiction book, How to Stay Married, was published and she immediately left her job as a junior report. Since then, she has authored more than 25 non-fiction books. It is also important to note that, between 1969 and 1982, Cooper gained national fame with a highly esteemed column in The Sunday Times Magazine. The column focused on the subjects of sex, marriage, social-class romance, and families in modern Britain.

In 1975 however, Cooper ventured into fiction writing, specializing in romance novels, and she has never looked back. Notably, Emily was her first romantic fiction novel, published in 1975. She authored six more romance novels by the close of the 70s decade, adopting feminine names of Prudence, Bella, Harriet, Imogen, and Octavia. In 1980, Cooper published a four-book series titled the Little Mabel series, consolidating her place in the English literary cycle.

After years of experience, improvement, and mastery of romance fiction, Cooper published what has now become one of her finest series to date, the Rutshire Chronicles. Most readers know of Jilly Cooper because of Rutshire Chronicles. The fictional series has earned her the highest acclaim, readership, and esteem as a fiction romance author in Britain. Following the launch of her seventh novel in the Rutshire Chronicles series, Pandora published in 2002, Cooper had graduated from being a mere author to an icon. Indeed, when celebrating her birthday in 2004, the Queen of England awarded Jilly Cooper the Order of the British Empire (OBE), for her esteemed contribution to English literature. Further, in November 2009, University of Gloucestershire awarded Cooper an Honorary Doctorate of Letters to affirm her legendary status in British fiction.

Three Decades of the Rutshire Chronicles

It is certain that Cooper attained her mastery as a romance fiction author with the Rutshire Chronicles. The nine novels in the series are arguably spectacular and highly recommended, either as standalones or as a chronology. For this article however, a brief review of the first two novels helps set the background of the series. The series started with the relatively long novel titled Riders, published in 1985 to become an international bestseller within the year. The use of multiple story lines, the realistic description of setting, the extremely intricate plots, and the myriad of characters adding to the twists of an already complicated romance story, anchored the Riders above mere romance fiction. Having known Cooper to be mild in sexual language, readers were exposed to another crafty edge of English romance. In the Rider, Cooper initiated what would eventually become the hallmark of the Rutshire Chronicles, where realistic narratives replaced what was previously only mildly implied. The narrative was characterized by adultery critique, graphic betrayals, mastery in infidelity, melodramatic relationship chaos, domestic upheavals, and torrents of emotional blackmail.

As such, from the outset, Rutshire Chronicles initiated an era in romance, where money became a factor in love tales. Traditional English love stories were refined to modern-day contexts, at a background of pure wealth and the glamour that often accompanies such wealth. Cooper pioneered an era where the glamour of public lifestyles differed with the horror of these same characters in domestic circles. Riders focused on the ordinary lives of jumping show stars at the Cotswold countryside in Britain. This sets the stage for a detailed narrative of their lives, both professional and personal, as fortune strikes, and with it wealth and fame. Jake Lovell is the novels hero character, and his preoccupation is a years-old revenge plan for Rupert Campbell-Black, the glamorous and obnoxious bully and yet an English aristocrat. Rider tells a tale of how Lovell and wealthy debutante wife, invests and strategically builds a novel yard. Before Lovell competes with peers at the Los Angeles Olympics, the story is dramatically juxtaposed between the realities of modern equestrian.

Importantly however, this logical story only develops alongside and interlaced with several other complicated storylines. Among Lovell friends, Rupert is has a jet-set lifestyle that is as complicated as nearly impossible. Lloyd-Foxe is a master of playing numerous beautiful women, while domesticating dogs and horses. On the other hand, Helen Macaulay is an adorable wife to the promiscuous Lloyd-Foxe, and she witnesses her once-celebrity husband gradually destroyed by an addiction to casual sex, alcohol, and parties. The Rider’s romance story is however only starting on the complications that define the Rutshire Chronicles. In the second novel, Rivals published in 1988 and subsequently nicknamed as the Players, the series complicates the already complicated web of English romance.

Following Riders, the Rutshire Chronicles took form upon the publication of Rivals in 1988, to introduce the womanizers who would later be nicknamed as the Players. In 1991, Cooper authored Polo, to herald perhaps the best of the Rutshire Chronicles in The Man Who Made Husbands Jealous, published in 1993. The most recent and the Rutshire Chronicles novels was Jump, published in 2010 to tell a tale of a mutilated yet phenomenal racehorse. The novel followed a decade of five other novels in the Rutshire Chronicles series, including Appassionata in 1996, Score in 1999, Pandora in 2002, and Wicked in 2006.


In conclusion, it is also notable that of Jilly Cooper’s fiction romance novels, the Rutshire Chronicles has recorded the highest number of adaptations, for a series in her name. Directors Gabrielle Beaumont adapted the first Rutshire Chronicles novel, Riders, for television in 1993. The adaptation was produced by Anglia Television and broadcasted by the ITV.

A year later, in 1994, The Man Who Made Husbands Jealous, fourth book in the Rutshire Chronicles series, was adapted to a highly successful television miniseries by Andrew MacLea and Harvey Bamberg. Also produced of Anglia Television, the miniseries were broadcasts again, by ITV. The successful miniseries featured a womanizer, Lysander Hawkley, who lacks the financial aid he expected from his father, and launches an innovative venture for desperate wives. Hawkley eventually uses his talent and skills to punish wayward husbands reported in the modern English society, amid the drama, the irony, twists. This however, is only a sample of the thrill that the Rutshire Chronicles series offers. The series is characterized by what has been, without question, Cooper’s finest mastery of English romance.

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