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South Riding

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It avoids well-trodden novelistic paths: most of the characters are middle-aged or older, and first love doesn't appear even as a subplot. South Riding was a bestseller, and in 1938 was made into a film, directed by Victor Saville and starring Ralph Richardson. The book I read from was Virago Modern Classic and of course that is a portent that it is a fine book. Good plus with moderate wear to covers and no marks to text, review and photo of the author tipped in on frond endpapers. Fourteen-year-old Lydia Holly is the eldest girl in a family of seven children, a fiercely intelligent individual burdened by the weight of an ailing mother and a useless but good-natured father.

We also meet Alderman Emma Beddows, a seventy-year-old woman almost certainly inspired in part by the author’s own mother, Alice Holtby. Winifred Holtby (23 Jun 1898 - 29 Sep 1935) was an English novelist and journalist, now best known for her novel "South Riding", which was posthumously published in 1936. I somehow managed to miss out on Holtby when she was in vogue (I think I read one of them, but now haven’t the first clue which it was, if indeed I did. Photograph: Nicola Dove/BBC South Riding: Anna Maxwell Martin as Sarah Burton in the new BBC adaptation. A good education is the best route out of poverty for Lydia, just as it proved to be the making of Sarah herself.Blighted by recession and devastated by the loss, they must also come to terms with significant social change. The increasing taunting and bullying of the teenage girls feels chillingly familiar and yet their pov is given a well; they simply are unable to see a teacher as another human being, she's a ridiculous authority figure, and it wouldn't even occur to them that what they're doing is persecution. This tale of universal values mirrored in local experience is not only an achievement of the mind," Brittain wrote in an epigraph to the version of the book published in the United States, reprinted in Virago's new edition, "it is . Beddows in her conversation with Sarah after Carne's death talks about how being 70 doesn't make a difference, there are still days you feel like a girl and then you go down the stairs and look in the mirror and the wrinkled face of a stranger looks back, and so she didn't have an option but friendship, in the tv version Davies tones this down to "I loved him, too, and maybe more than I should have" and that's it.

I’m guessing Julian Fellowes pulled from this a bit for the one love interest he gave Tom after Sybil died on Downton Abbey. By contrast, Davies, presumably to present Joe as a clueless socialist, gives him a speech to his fellow councilmen of how they should pay attention to the social programs abroad "like Chancellor Hitler's in Germany", which isn't in the novel at all. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without written permission from this blog’s author is prohibited. Lydia Holly, the scholarship girl from the shacks, is the most brilliant student Sarah has ever taught, but when her mother's health fails, her education must be sacrificed - there is nobody else to care for the children.There are examples of misinformation, manipulation and personal gain, all of which serve to illustrate that local government decisions may not always be made for purely altruistic reasons. I loved Sarah and the Holly family, and found the description of local government fascinating and realistic. It also allows Holtby to explore the irritations and corruptions inherent in the system and she does so with a good deal of relish. Mrs Woolf, wife of the manager, is a very celebrated author and, in her own way, more important than Galsworthy.

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