South Riding

South Riding

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When Sarah Burton returns to her hometown as headmistress she is full of ambition, determined to create a great school and to inspire her girls to take all they can from life. But in the aftermath of the First World War, the country is in depression and ideals are hard won. Lydia Holly, the scholarship girl from the shacks, is the most brilliant student Sarah has ever taught, but when her mother's health fails, her education must be sacrificed - there is nobody else to care for the children. Robert Carne of Maythorpe Hall stands for everything Sarah despises: his family has farmed the South Riding for generations, their position uncontested. Yet Sarah cannot help being drawn to this proud, haunted - and almost ruined - man. South Riding is a rich, panoramic novel, bringing vividly to life a rural community on the brink of change.

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Product details

  • Paperback | 544 pages
  • 128 x 198 x 40mm | 339.99g
  • Little, Brown Book Group
  • Virago Press Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New edition
  • New
  • 0860689697
  • 9780860689690
  • 31,837

About Winifred Holtby

Winifred Holtby (1898-1935), journalist, critic, feminist, pacifist and author won the James Tait Black Memorial prize with South Riding, her last novel.

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Review quote

a triumph of personality, a testament of its author's undaunted philosophy Vera Brittain

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Review Text

This is a difficult novel for the American reading public - so very English is it in its political and social and economic problems. Interwoven through a really gripping story is the thread of local politics, the meetings and conflicts and achievements and defeats of the local council. This - to the American reader slows up the action by introducing so unfamiliar a note that it seems to have small place in a novel that is overlong already. The main theme is concerned with a Squire whose adored wife, daughter of a nobleman, was hopelessly insane, whose small daughter was unbalanced and highly keyed, who - himself - was caught in the downfall of the landed gentry, and the rush of modernity, Into his life comes the redheaded school mistress - and plays havoc. The chief interest of the book, however, lies in the panoramic view of the community, with individuals coming out in sharp relief, dramatic and humorous and tragic. The book has undeniable power - something of the Cronin - Bentley market possibilities, perhaps. I doubt whether it reaches a wide market over here. (Kirkus Reviews)

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