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Publisher's Summary

Set in Cumbria and covering the period from 1898 to the early '20s, this is the powerful saga of John Tallentire, first farm labourer then coal miner, and his wife, Emily.

John's struggle to break free from the humiliating status of a 'hired man' is the theme of a novel which has been hailed as a classic of its kind - as meticulously detailed as a social document, as evocative as the writings of Hardy and Lawrence.

©1969 Melvyn Bragg (P)2015 Hodder & Stoughton

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • C I H
  • 07-15-18

Part One of a Cumbrian Trilogy.

Lord Bragg captures the dialect, Malcolm Sinclair delivers,Bragg’s story will have you sitting on the edge of your seat.Braggs descriptive ability makes full use of the English Language often poetic always enlightening this is an excellent listen or read.

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  • Xander
  • 05-05-18

Outstanding and real story-telling

At first I found this book very hard to get into. The narrative perspective is moved at random between characters and the choices that the characters make can be frustrating. However, as I kept reading I came to the realisation that this might be one of the most real pieces of fiction I have ever read. The characters are not perfect. They make mistakes, act like cowards and hurt each other. Yet, life continues and the characters work through their problems much as we must do in real life. As the reader resonates with the characters through their hardship, pain and suffering; joy is found and is graciously given in the resolution, all because of Melvyn Bragg's outstanding abilities as a story teller.

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  • pennyk
  • 03-23-17

Enthralling

I enjoyed every minute. The accents were good and the descriptions helped paint pictures. Looking forward to the next part of this wonderful family saga.

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  • Paul D
  • 09-17-16

Coal meets corn docudrama

An interesting saga of rural life in 19th century Cumbria . Told with great confidence and attention to detail reflecting the social history of the age The characters are well drawn and the story engaging but I found that in the role of historic observer it was difficult to be empathetic with their trials .