Book of the week - My Animals and Other Family, by Clare Balding

As the new darling of television sports presenting, Clare Balding would have been forgiven for releasing a glamorous ‘celebrity’ autobiography detailing her rise to fame.

However, it is with the dignity and integrity one expects from Balding that this, her first book, is a more intelligent memoir. The book is based, as the title reveals, on the animals – and occasional human – she grew up with while being raised by her racehorse training family.

Whether you’re an animal lover or not is irrelevant, because the descriptions of Balding’s animals, and her relationships with them, transport you right into to her world, where you’re able to almost smell her dogs and stroke the horses.

She has a wonderful knack of making a privileged and glamorous upbringing – including audiences with the Queen – seem completely ordinary.

All this is what makes Balding a great broadcaster and storyteller. And this is why, if you didn’t love her before reading this book, you certainly will do after reading it.

Rating: 9/10.