Saturday, 10 September 2011

Netherwood (Jane Sanderson)

First things first, Five Farthings is coming on nicely and the text is complete and almost set in its final version. I'm giving myself a bit of time away from the text this weekend so that I can spot the errors on my return. I may yet change my mind (again?) and test the fonts when I do.

I found a proof copy of Jane Sanderson's Netherwood a few weeks ago and finally read it last weekend. If my opinions are worth anything, I suggest buying it when it is published on 29 September - I intend to hunt down and purchase a signed copy. I wish I hadn't waited so long to move it off my 'read it soon' shelf as it's one of those enjoyable historical novels that can simply be devoured with tea. The focus on good food and enjoying eating said home cooking also makes you wish that a batch of biscuits was baking in your oven rather than opting for the clean and practical simplicity of opening a packet. I don't cook while reading any more as I prefer my food cooked to carbonised. Nor did I want to put the book down while I baked biscuits to eat with it. When I find a really good page-turner I want to read it in one sitting. Netherwood has been published to catch the Downton Abbey wave, but that shouldn't put anyone off. It's a good page-turner of a country house and mining village novel and the story of two young female entrepreneurs is very deftly done. Set in the years before the First World War, it's a fascinating look between the life of the aristocracy shuttling between Town and Country houses on private train lines while the working poor on their sprawling estates live a hand-to-mouth existence. This isn't, quite, the country village, but industrial coal-mining town.