I picked up this book and read it based entirely on the fact it had an adaptation. Silly, really. It’s the story of the community of South Riding who are living in the shadow of the First World War. The story unfolds and we see how circumstances and life affect the people there. Told with one voice from tons of viewpoints, it shows a world slowly unravelling and the Old World gone for good. This of course, is not unmarred by tragedy.
To tell you the truth, sometimes I fell behind when trying to grasp the pacing of the book. It veers off into so many story arcs and in time you will often lose track of other story threads. The chapters from the point of view of the teacher, Sarah Burton, were interesting because they showed the challenges of being a teacher in such an area as South Riding and all the problems it brings with it.
As a piece of literature, it could be a great masterpiece but people may be put off by the variety of viewpoints. Its up there with fantastic English novels about society, but I don’t think its the sort of book that people will instantly know.
MY RATING: 3.5 / 5.