By Winifred Holtby
A rich, panoramic portrait of a Yorkshire community in the Thirties that carries surprising and refreshing echoes of our own time.
When Sarah Burton returns to her hometown as headmistress she is full of ambition, determined to create a great school and to inspire her girls to take all they can from life. But in the aftermath of the First World War, the country is in depression and ideals are hard won. 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.
Robert Carne of Maythorpe Hall stands for everything Sarah despises: his family has farmed the South Riding for generations, their position uncontested. Yet Sarah cannot help being drawn to this proud, haunted - and almost ruined - man.
South Riding is a rich, panoramic novel, bringing vividly to life a rural community on the brink of change.
Winifred Holtby (1898-1935), journalist, critic, feminist, pacifist and author won the James Tait Black Memorial prize with South Riding, her last novel.
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- Publication date:
26 Nov 2010
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a triumph of personality, a testament of its author's undaunted philosophy — Vera Brittain