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By M on 07-11-13
Nearly, but not quite 5 star
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An excellent yarn mixing historical events with the fiction of the romance of the two main characters but spoiled for me by a lack of appreciation of the relationship between the amateur and professional cricketer in pre-WW1 England. William Maitalnd, the hero, is a public school educated man who decides to make cricket his "profession", and signs professional terms with a fictional county based on the old county ground at Hastings (The Priory). He is offered the captaincy of his county but declines on a matter of loyalty to a team mate who his committee want to sack. In reality, this would never have occurred at this time. It would be another 20 years before a professional captained a first class county (Ewart Astill) and it is unlikely Maitland would have been permitted to play as a professional in the first place. Even if he could not afford to play as an amateur, some means of defraying his expenses would have been found to avoid him becoming a traitor to his class - as was the case with many during the Victorian and Edwardian era - WG Grace to name but one.
The rest of the cricket related matters in the book are done well which makes it all the more surprising that the author should have missed this small, but significant point
This little irritation (and perhaps a frustration with Maitland's stuffed shirt reluctance to follow his heart) it is excellent.
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