Acquired via BookCrossing 23 May 2009 – at the Birmingham meetup

A seemingly autobiographical trilogy (Douglas in the 2nd and 3rd books seems very similar to the main character in his war trilogy which is known to be autobiographical) and a touch didactic as it follows a family’s history, mainly in Cumbria, from the 1890s to the 1970s. The first two books were excellent, really giving a sense of a proscribed life opening out to the mod cons of a retirement bungalow for the old folks and a broken marriage for the younger ones. Historical detail and atmosphere are evoked through the history of the Tallentire family; grandfathers and grandsons bond, cousins are compared, marriages sour and world events are engaged with. The third books is less interesting and seems a bit self-indulgent, except in the portrayal of Betty and Joseph; the contrast between Douglas and Lester seems forced and the foray into the world of pop music a bit misjudged. I did find the 3rd volume a bit of a disappointment compared to the superb and enthralling first two.