Best Books of 2012: Blog 3 of 12

In alphabetical order of authors, I am posting the details every day over twelve days. My 2012 reading included a couple of books from the dim and distant past as well as several hot off the press and this is one of them. Please click on the title to open the comment box at the foot and maybe offer your best reads of the year. Here is my third choice.

The Rise of Henry Morcar by Phyllis Bentley, contemporary and friend of Winifred Holtby and Vera Brittain, is a book I have read at least ten times since it first appeared just after the war and it was the spur to unlocking the several Bentley novels I went on to enjoy, of which Inheritance is the most significant.  Morcar is a story which runs in parallel with the final chapters of Inheritance and then takes the West Riding wool textile story forward another dozen years or so. (A Man of His Time can be seen as the third of her trilogy.) In the dramatic opening scene, as a ‘doodlebug’ homes in on his London flat, Morcar sees his life in flashback. He has grown up with a love of his craft and a gift for design and management and, after a hard start with several setbacks, he begins to flourish materially, while still suffering psychologically, the impacts of a lost comrade, a failed marriage and a solitary life, until he meets the woman he can love but who insists she will not be ‘free’ until the war is over. From a textile background, the novel has many personal resonances for me and I read it again every so often. You may have to go down the second-hand route for Bentley’s novels these days but starting prices at £0.62 plus postage mean they are very affordable as well as readable. Verdict 6.5 out of 10

Look out for my fourth book tomorrow. Happy reading!

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