Book Reviews

Long Summer Day (Horseman Riding By Trilogy: Volume 1) by R. F. Delderfield

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List Price: £7.99


Paperback: 688 Pages.

Published: 03 August 1995 by Coronet

Edition: New Ed

ISBN: 9780340043608

EAN: 9780340043608

R F Delderfield was born in South London in 1912. On leaving school he joined the Exmouth Chronicle newspaper as a junior reporter, where he went on to become Editor. From there he began to write stage plays and then became a highly successful novelist, renowned for brilliantly portraying slices of English life. With the publication of his first saga, A Horseman Riding By, he became one of Britain's most popular authors, and his novels have been bestsellers ever since.


4.0 Stars4.0 Stars4.0 Stars4.0 Stars  by Debra Found

Great Start to an Excellent Saga

I first discovered R.F. Delderfield after watching the 1980s TV series "A Horseman Riding By". This is the first book in that saga.

Delderfield knew how to write a saga. He writes about the little everyday things which bring people and places to life. He also writes about world events and how they affect the everyday lives of the people he is writing about. He is able to follow generations though as the story develops.

This series is, in my opinion, quite excellent. This first book takes us from the Boer War through to the reign of George V. It is primarily set in a rural Cornish estate which is very much stuck in the Victorian era. Swallowford is bought by Boer War veteran Paul Craddock who, although a young man, is rather set in his ways. We follow the lives of the people on the estate - Paul and his family at the Big House and the tenants who run the farms. We follow through the births, marriages and deaths. We follow the political changes in the country and see how that filters through to have some small impact on the lives of the people on the estate. We have the coming of the motor car and the start of a relentless push towards modernisation.

I love immersing myself in the life of this estate. With a long saga of this nature, the reader can really get involved in the lives of the characters. Paul Craddock although a generally nice man and good squire makes his mistakes, some of them quite major. He is a very human character. The personalities of all the people on the farms are clearly distinguishable and although there is a  vast cast list I found it no problem to keep track of who is who.

Delderfield is also a master of descriptive writing. The beauty of the countryside and the passing of the seasons are full of rich description. I like the fact that there is dialect used in some of the dialogue which brings the Cornish people to life.

This is the first book in a quite excellent saga. It is a book to get lost in and to live through. Although this is not a book of amazing action, it does trot along with plenty going on and the occasional really dramatic moment such as a murder. So if you have a bit of time on your hands and want to get involved in a good saga then I can highly recommend this one.

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