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I first read Winifred Holtby's South Riding more than 35 years ago and loved it. The writing is wonderful and the story moving and uplifting. In 1974 I watched the Yorkshire Television dramatisation with Dorothy Tutin and Nigel Davenport - a true adaptation and captivating. So I came to the unabridged audio version with high hopes and expectations. It didn't disappoint. It is beautifully read by Carole Boyd. If you only know her from her incarnation as the shrill Linda Snell in the Archers then be prepared for a surprise. She has a sensitive, versatile voice which picks up every nuance of the written word. I loved this audio experience. Without doubt the best listen of my audio year.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful
I took me some time to get into it. But then I could hardly put down my earphones intrigued by the story as well as the wonderful listening. Probably not the book you like to read whilst roasting on the beach but being snuggled up on a sofa with a cup of tea and biscuits or a long journey you do not have to concentrate on the traffic.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
I wanted to love this book, but a huge cast of characters involved with local Yorkshire politics—politics being a topic which I shrink away from—did not exactly win me over in the beginning. Soon, some key figures emerged, namely Sarah Burton, the new and youngish headmistress at the local high school, and Robert Carne, a broke and principled landowner and descendant from a venerable family regarded locally as a lord—if not in actuality, then figuratively. Little by little, as the politics took a secondary place and the various individuals became more fleshed out, in this poor community between the wars struggling to improve the lot of it's residents, I was pulled in by their various stories and struggles. I eventually found myself truly caring about Sarah and Carne, the modern and independent clever woman falling in love with the older man defeated by personal tragedy. And County Alderman Mrs Beddows,—at first seeming like a mere figurehead as the first Alderman woman (apparently as Holtby's own mother was)—a married septuagenarian more than a little bit in love with Carne too, earned my affection in the end. A book I feel I should have appreciated more than I did, and which I may very likely revisit eventually.
Carole Boyd is one of my favourite narrators and delivers a flawless performance as always.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
I really liked the finely crafted, very human characters in this book and the way Holtby has skilfully brought them and their inmost thoughts, hopes, fears, successes and failures to life. Set in the fictional Yorkshire South Riding, the book describes the machinations behind the scenes of local government as well as the love two very different women bear for gentleman farmer Robert Carne, who has seen better days. There are many poignant moments and some beautiful descriptions of the Yorkshire coast and countryside. The story drags a bit at the end but is otherwise an absorbing listen.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful