South Riding

  • by Winifred Holtby
  • Narrated by Carole Boyd
  • 19 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In this rich and memorable evocation of the fictional South Riding of Yorkshire are the lives, loves and sorrows of the central characters. There is Sarah Burton, fiery young headmistress; Robert Carne of Maythorpe Hall, a councillor tormented by his own disastrous marriage; Jo Astell, a socialist fighting poverty and his own illness; and Mrs Beddows, the first woman Alderman of the district (like Winifred's own mother). They are the people who work together in the council chambers and backrooms of local politics. Alongside them, however, are the people affected by their decisions.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Worth Revisiting

I wanted to love this book, but a huge cast of characters involved with local Yorkshire politics—politics being a topic which I shrink away from—did not exactly win me over in the beginning. Soon, some key figures emerged, namely Sarah Burton, the new and youngish headmistress at the local high school, and Robert Carne, a broke and principled landowner and descendant from a venerable family regarded locally as a lord—if not in actuality, then figuratively. Little by little, as the politics took a secondary place and the various individuals became more fleshed out, in this poor community between the wars struggling to improve the lot of it's residents, I was pulled in by their various stories and struggles. I eventually found myself truly caring about Sarah and Carne, the modern and independent clever woman falling in love with the older man defeated by personal tragedy. And County Alderman Mrs Beddows,—at first seeming like a mere figurehead as the first Alderman woman (apparently as Holtby's own mother was)—a married septuagenarian more than a little bit in love with Carne too, earned my affection in the end. A book I feel I should have appreciated more than I did, and which I may very likely revisit eventually.

Carole Boyd is one of my favourite narrators and delivers a flawless performance as always.
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- Ilana

A beautifully written book

I really liked the finely crafted, very human characters in this book and the way Holtby has skilfully brought them and their inmost thoughts, hopes, fears, successes and failures to life. Set in the fictional Yorkshire South Riding, the book describes the machinations behind the scenes of local government as well as the love two very different women bear for gentleman farmer Robert Carne, who has seen better days. There are many poignant moments and some beautiful descriptions of the Yorkshire coast and countryside. The story drags a bit at the end but is otherwise an absorbing listen.
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Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-14-2009
  • Publisher: Audible Studios