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Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars6
3.0 out of 5 stars
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on 3 May 2011
In this, Winifred Holtby's first novel dating from 1923, there are elements which were to reach their full maturity in her last and finest novel, South Riding : the portrait of a somewhat enclosed East Yorkshire rural community; the social conflict between stubborn tradition and inevitable change; a principal female character challenged by unrequited love and unfulfilled happiness; a tragic and unexpected death; the need to face a future unwaveringly. Anderby Wold (with its discernible echoes of Hardy) lacks the rich texture and quiet grandeur of Holtby's last work but Mary Robson, farmer's wife, and David Rossitur, fiery young radical, are not unworthy precursors of Sarah Burton and Robert Carne. This is a useful and timely re-issue in the Virago Modern Classics series.
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on 3 June 2014
When our library ran a kind of 'lucky dip' of books, this was the one I got. Although I had not heard of it before, I was delighted with it, and I am surprised at the lukewarm comments of other reviewers. Farmer's wife Mary Robson is a wonderfully developed character. At first it appears she will be a victim, as we first see her coping bravely with her sister-in-law's bitchiness and jealousy. A first scene between them depicts Mary patiently and calmly parrying the barbed comments of the bitter Sarah and we warm to her. We also learn she is popular and her workers rally round her. Her husband is worthy but extrememly dull and uncommunicative and we feel she dserves better. However, as the book progresses, we see that Mary is headstrong and quite arrogant in some ways, sure she is always right and determined to get her own way. The love interest, a young socialist firebrand called David Rossitur is similarly ambivalent at first, although he later emerges a hero, and by the end of the book I was back on Mary's side. It was also very interesting on the situation of farm workers and the attempts to create a union for them. I rated it as four stars, since as another viewer pointed out, some of the events are somewhat cliched and predictable, and coincidence plays a part. All in all, though,l this is a quick, entertaining and thought-provoking read.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 27 November 2012
Written in the 1920s, this is the story of Mary Robson - a 28 year old married to a cousin old enough to be her father, in a marriage of convenience. Resigned to her lot, she devotes her time to her home and village affairs. Her interference, as 'queen' of the village, annoys Mr Coast the schoolmaster. And when fiery young socialist David Rossitur shows up and urges the local labourers to strike at harvest time, Coast is only to happy to back him and cause problems for the Robsons.
But Mary is falling for Rossitur...
Perfectly readable but not a very memorable or outstanding work.
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on 1 May 2013
This was chosen by a member of our book group so I read it in the expectation of discussing it. I found it lacked development of the characters and the preliminary attitudes to socialism simplistic. It was quite evident that there would be a fire which would change things as the people themsleves seemed unable to contemplate. There was not even any detailed descriptions of the real farm work of the time.
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on 27 September 2013
Bought for my wife who as yet not had time to read it, flipped through it though and it doe's read quite well with an interesting story line
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on 22 November 2011
Such a disappointment - How did she get anything else published? The characters are lightweight and streotyped. The idea had such promise.
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