Loaned from Ali

Ali and I are going on a Francis Brett Young Day on Saturday and the event includes a screening of the film of this book.  So my week off was an ideal opportunity to get it read.

Anotther unputdownable novel.  Jonathan always seems to have to bend to the needs of his younger and more attractive brother Harold.  Whether it’s education, his inheritance, even their loves, Harold seems to get the cream of the crop.  Jonathan works hard and seems to be improving his medical practice with the help of the quiet and lovely Miss Hammond, when the First World War comes along and turns society upside-down.

A lot happens, and in the inexorable fate of the characters, their isolation in a small community with watching eyes all around, and the twists and turns of the plot remind me of some of the Canadian novels I’ve read recently (I’m thinking Mary Lawson here) as well as the more commonly compared Hardy.  I liked, as always, the detail that went into the book – we know exactly how a Black Country medical practice was set up and run, how it looked, what there was on the tables, how the community was structured.  And somehow, even with this detail and the usual lyrical descriptions, you still bowl along with the story, not getting bogged down.  I liked the Cricket Ground and the University Medical School featuring, of course, too!

Somewhat of a shocking ending, but fate will out and I shouldn’t have expected anything else.  I’m looking forward to the day (although I still don’t feel I’ve read enough of the novels) and the film (and I know when to look away now!)