The sixth and final read in the challenge, I thought NetherWOOD would be perfect for the 'Topography' category.
NETHERWOOD by JANE SANDERSON.
Lord Netherwood keeps his considerable fortune, and the upkeep of Netherwood Hall, ticking over with the profits from his three coal mines. The welfare of his employees isn't a pressing concern - more important is keeping his wife and daughters happy and ensuring heir to the family wealth, the charming feckless Tobias, stays out of trouble.
Eve Williams is the wife of one of Lord Netherwood's employees. When her life is brought crashing down, Eve must look to her own self-sufficiency and talent to provide for her three young children. And it's then that the 'upstairs' and 'downstairs' collide in truly dramatic fashion.
........ Outer back cover.
FIRST SENTENCE (Chapter 1): It was morning but the bedroom was still as black as pitch when Eve Williams opened her eyes.
MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 100): Somewhere in the town a housewife had begun to strike a poker against the grate of her fire and the sound, carrying easily through the walls of the terraced houses, had been heard and replicated by her neighbours, and hers, and again hers, until it seemed that hundreds of pokers were striking hundreds of iron grates, to relay the news more effectively than any telegraph that ..........
KEEP IT OR NOT?: My favourite read of 2012 so far, I'll be keeping this and buying the second instalment which is to be published in September of this year.
Recommended by Dizzy C (see her review HERE) not only was this a perfect choice for this particular challenge but given Husband Dearest's connection with mining I thought I'd enjoy this read on a very personal level.
A debut novel that was based on the author's own background, I thought this a very honest novel...... the miners 'story' perhaps ringing more true to my ears than Eve's story.
Well plotted and with a tremendous wealth of characters, it dealt with some of the important social and political aspects of the time - not least of which being the divide between rich and poor and the fight for recognition by the trade unions.
Wonderfully descriptive, the author does indeed paint a graphic picture of life for both for the gentry as well as the 'common man' - her mention of the formal luncheon given for heir to the estate, Toby's (Tobias) coming of age will long remain in my memory as to how the various classes were kept at a distance .....
The squirearchy and gentleman farmers, for example, must not be expected to dine and drink with the professional classes, who in turn must be separate from the upper echelons of the estate workers who themselves might take offence at being seated among the miners.
Brilliantly written, you can feel the passion the author has for her characters, I'm so looking forward to the next book to see how they develop.