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For the #1936Club: South Riding by Winifred Holtby

In her preface to the 1988 edition of South Riding , the late Shirley Williams (daughter of  Winifred Holtby's close friend and literary executor, Vera Brittain) describes Holtby's most famous book as; 'the great epic of local government.' Does that make you want to read it? I imagine not, and this would be a terrible shame, as it is a wonderful novel, full of vivid, fascinating characters, dramatic events, wheelers, dealers, lovers and haters, all set against the backdrop of a country in flux, and in a landscape of cliffs and marshes, windswept wastes and busy towns - South Riding may not exist, but the location of this story is very firmly Holtby's native Yorkshire. And above all it is the story of Sarah Burton, a teacher returning home from London to take charge of the local girls' high school; of Robert Carne, local farmer, horseman and councillor; of Midge, his strange and somewhat hysterical daughter; of Mrs Emma Beddows, the first female Alderman of South

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