Top positive review
3 people found this helpful
Underrated novel of Yorkshire life
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 deserves 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, this is a quick, entertaining and thought-provoking read.