There are books that I would expect to enjoy. High fantasy (anything with a dragon or two, a few Elves, at least one wizard, of course, and a large and well described landscape). Science fiction too, often a bit more of a challenge. As are crime and espionage novels (I never know what's going on but I enjoy them). History too, especially military. I'm a sucker for a well told children's book too.
However, well down the list should be sagas about downtrodden widows mixing it with the toffs but I'm not going to miss out on my Downton Abbey fix any more than you are.
So, with the dangers to miners sadly in the news lately, we come to Netherwood by Jane Sanderson and what I thought of it -
This, the first in a new series, is a tale of two very different Yorkshire families a century ago, one headed by a miner, the other by Lord Hoyland, the mine owner.
Young, beautiful, Eve Williams, her devoted husband Arthur and their little family all spring to life from this book's earliest pages. Indeed, even the minor characters are solid, believable, well defined and great fun to meet.
Arthur works in Lord Hoyland's mines and earns little for long hours and dangerous work. The atmosphere of day-to-day living and survival for even these comparatively well treated families is made clear and hardship and hunger are always close by.
When Eve is widowed and faces ruin she finds that her skills as a baker are her salvation and, with a friend to help and encourage her, she soon finds her business catches the eye of more than just friends and neighbours.
Though Eve holds centre-stage with her friends and family, Lord Hoyland and his also star and both strands of the plot are told equally well. There seems little to challenge Eve’s rise ever upward to success and new love so this is a happy read, though not all those around her wish her well.
Light romance? Saga? Whatever. This should not really have been my cup of tea. However, it was, and good, Yorkshire tea at that.
This is a perfect read for Downton Abbey fans (and a great number of other folk, too) and I honestly look forward to knowing what happens next.
It's a paperback at only £6.99