This is the first part of Bentley's famous Inheritance trilogy. Filmed by Granada in 1967, the Inheritance trilogy is Phyllis Bentley's most widely acclaimed work. Set against the backdrop of the textile industry in the West Riding of Yorkshire, the trilogy chronicles the lives of several families over 153 trouble-torn years, from the Luddite riots of 1812 to the death of Sir Winston Churchill in 1965. Vividly depicted, and moving to the last, this trilogy is an example of regional fiction at its finest. Speaking of the reason for the work, Bentley wrote that it is a story of ‘decency and integrity, courage and compassion... passed down the generations; we are always the heirs of the past and begetters of the future ages. It will be seen that this thought is the meaning of the title Inheritance. It is not material wealth which is meant, but a spiritual heritage.’
Phyllis Bentley, 1894 – 1977. Bentley published her first work in 1918, a collection of short stories entitled The World’s Bane, after which she published several poor-selling novels. The publication in March 1932 of her best-known work, Inheritance, set against the background of the development of the textile industry in the West Riding, received widespread critical acclaim and ran through twenty-three impressions by 1946, making her the first successful English regional novelist since Thomas Hardy and his Wessex. In 1949 she was awarded an honorary DLitt from Leeds University; in 1958 she became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature; and in 1970 was awarded an OBE.
©1932 Phyllis Bentley (P)2013 Audible Ltd
The New York Times, in 1932, calls Inheritance "a powerful story excellently told". To me, it was 14 hours of miserable people doing miserable things. The end was positive and uplifting, and it felt like a dutiful plot device, almost like a different author.
I was lucky enough to read "Broome Stages" by Clemence Dane, which, sadly has not been recorded or even remembered. (She was involved in writing the screenplay to "Bill of Divorcement" and won an Oscar in 1945.) Broome Stages is also a sweeping saga of many generations of one family, but it has ups as well as downs, good people as well as bad, and writing that makes every page a treasure.
I would suggest skipping "Inheritance". I'm certainly not going to read any of the sequels.
"Sprawling family saga"
I read this book many years ago and remember the television series in the 1960s but found the audiobook, read by the excellent Rupert Degas, made the characters more real than both.
The story compares favourably with the Forsythe Saga....great historical accuracy and a broad canvas of characters.
I had listened to his reading of McCarthy's "The Road" which I found equally well read. He seems to be an absolute genius in differentiating beween his characters and his mastery of the Yorkshire accent in Bentley's book is flawless.
Too long for a single sitting but one I was always delighted to resume.
I'm looking forward to hearing the next two installments of Bentley's saga and will certainly look out for other books read by Degas.
"I didn't know it was recorded!"
This is one of my all time favourite books but when I searched Phyllis Bentley only found A Man of His Time and Ring in The New. Bitterly disappointed that 3 and 4 were apparently there with no 1 and 2. Dear Audible, either your search isn't working properly or I'm a numptie, Who cares, I've found them all now. Bliss. I love the Oldroys saga, particularly the earlier generations. Thank you to Rupert Degas for bringing them to life.
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