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A huge saga (in three parts) of the life and times of a Victorian Squire, who purchases a run down estate in a valley on the Devon coast, just after the Boer War, relating the history of Britain through the two devastating World Wars up to the middle of the 1960's.

Seen through the eyes of the Squire, his wife and large family and the various locals - farmers, poachers, vicars and assorted country folk - the saga is a potted history of the changes to Britain through the 20th century.

I found this book on the bookshelf of my late Grandmother, who was born in 1900 - and having now finished the book, I can see why she owned it - it is the history of her lifetime (she died in the 1980's) - and would have been very nostalgic for her.

Huge changes over that period - from an essentially feudal start, with forelock-tugging locals, and a hunting Parson, to the aftermath of the Second World War, when the "spivs" and developers took over the council planning departments and laid waste to huge tracts of England in their pursuit of profit.

At times heartbreaking - many sad deaths of various members of the family - and at times a bucolic reverie of "Olde England", with its timeless fields, summer cloudy skies, and the slow pace of country life and the roll of the seasons, this is a delightful book (I have now finished the trilogy), and takes me (in part) back to my own childhood in the 1950s countryside.

I suspect many of the views of the Squire, are those of the author, lamenting the change for the worse of successive venal Governments - and looking back from the 21st century, I fear things have only continued on their downward slide, with the current state of Politicians with their noses firmly in the trough.
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on 8 November 2010
R.F.Delderfield knew how to weave a proper, family saga. I first heard of him and his 'A Horseman Riding By' in the 1960s, when it was broadcast on 'Saturday Night Theatre' on the BBC Light Programme. I bought my copy of the book then. (The first two volumes were originally in one.) I also bought the sequel, 'The Green Gauntlet'. I watched the television Series too, but prefer the books, which I have read over and over. I still have them, in good condition. (They made books properly and of superior paper then.) So I am now going to buy paperbacks, to preserve my hardbacks.

If you are at all interested in the march of the UK's story since 1900, then you must read these books.

Also worth reading are the 'Avenue Stories' by Delderfield. Well... anything by him really. If you like a 'good, long read', you won't be disappointed.

JW
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on 27 October 2010
This trilogy was my introduction to Delderfield after being recommended to him on holiday and having read blood and gore murder stories. I found him to be a remarkable writer. I actually found the stories relaxing if that makes sense and looked forward to the next book. I will definitely read more of his books.
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on 17 May 2012
Read all three of these books many years ago and have just re-read them - they are absolutely magnificent!

The story of a lonely, wounded young man riding into an isolated valley at the beginning of the twentieth century where he is instantly at home, and, in fact makes it his home for the next 60 odd years.

This story is in three long volumes, but every word is worth the reading, with Delderfield's wonderful gift for story-telling, characterization and description, and yes, there is sex in it but done in such a way as to use no prurience but you are left in no doubt as to what he is referring! There are epic descriptions of farming, battlefields of World Wars 1 and 2 and above all, the people who inhabit this beautiful, hidden valley.

The utter span and conception of these works is, in fact, beyond desciption by me - you will have to read them for yourself and find out what I mean.

EXTREMELY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED AS ARE ALL OF DELDERFIELD'S OTHER STORES.
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on 9 February 2012
Fantastic news. A Horseman Riding By, now on Kindle. I thought these books were lost to future generations, but with the advent of ereaders they are now freely available hopefully for generations to come. I first read A Horseman Riding By in 1973, at the ripe old age of 26. I picked it up again some 30 years later and re-read it. It still contained the same magic. R F Delderfield in my opinion is one of our greatest writers of the 20th Century. Hopefully one day he will get the recognition that he so richly deserves.
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on 23 February 2012
What can I say. Am a Delderfield fan and have read, read and re-read his books. All I can say is more, more, more. Book arrived on time, well packaged. Am really happy as my old copy was falling to pieces. Kindle version of all the books is the next step so that I can have mint copies of the book to keep

Great story for social history and life through the generations.
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on 15 April 2016
A lovely book, full of elegant prose and not afraid to tackle issues as varying as female suffrage and the problems of ill-matched couples. It would have been so easy for this to be a bucolic idyll, and although it does become a book approaching this towards the end, Delderfield avoided the classic happy ending. With the comments about the nature of future wars made by the former soldier Rudd, and the references to the Kaiser's obsession with armaments we, as readers, know what is to come and the author leaves this hanging over the whole of the valley through the reflections by the German professor at the end of the novel.So I was happy for Paul to enjoy his rural idyll in 19011 as this will soon be a lost way of life.
This book reminded me of the early Poldark novels, a slightly rebellious hero, his difficulties with women, viewed as an outsider because of his political beliefs. Like the Poldark novels, there is a range of characters, from local aristocracy to local scallywags. However these books are less gritty, apart from one incident that will be apparent if you read the book. On the whole, the tenants tend to be industrious and there is little reference to the impact of rural poverty and the consequences of this. No deaths in childbirth or accidents at the sawmill here. However, this is a book of its time, written by an author who was born in 1912, and it is a tribute to an England forever lost to us. I have just downloaded the second novel, and cannot wait to see how the Great War affects the valley and all its inhabitants.
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on 2 January 2013
I am only half way through this book but it is hard to drag myself away and it has been a godsend over a busy Christmas as a refuge from the hurly-burly. I love books which deal with country life and nature and are also family sagas. There are so many more books in this series and I am hoping they are all available as Kindle e-books. My reading for a few months!
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on 11 February 2013
Delderfield did not disappoint with this epic tale set in the first half of 20th century. Characters are believable and loveable. The story is beautifully written with humour, sensitivity and a good eye on history. Highly recommend the trilogy.
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on 14 August 2016
This is the third time of reading this novel for me and still I do not tire of it. I cannot wait to read it yet want do not want to reach the end. A lovely book and a good place to start with reading this novelist.
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