The Book: Sarum: A Novel of England, by Edward Rutherford - published in 1988 - 1,056 pages
What It Is About: It is basically an overview of all of English history, focused on one particular place and several specific families. Here's a summary from Library Journal:
A first novel, Rutherfurd's sweeping saga of the area surrounding Stonehenge and Salisbury, England, covers 10,000 years and includes many generations of five families. Each family has one or more characteristic types who appear in successive centuries: the round-headed balding man who is good with his hands; the blue-eyed blonde woman who insists on having her independence; the dark, narrow-faced fisher of river waters and secrets. Their fortunes rise and fall both economically and politically, but the land triumphs over the passage of time and the ravages of humans. Rutherfurd has told the story of the land he was born in and has told it well. The verbosity of a Michener is missing, but all the other elements are present, from geology and archaeology to a rich story of human life. Highly recommended.Why I Love It: I don't remember many of the specifics of this book but I do remember being enthralled with it. I loved how each family had its own characteristics that you could trace through the generations. And I remember learning so much history from this book while being entertained at the same time.
Other Thoughts: This book hadn't crossed my mind in many years. But when I saw Swapna's photos from her trip to England, specifically her visit to Sarum, I was immediately reminded of this book.
Would I Recommend It?: Those who enjoy historical fiction would likely enjoy this book. On Amazon.com it is shown as a Young Adult novel ... really? I was a young adult when I read it, but I was reading all sorts of books at the time so I can't say if this is an appropriate label or not. Regardless, it is epic in scope and fascinating to read.
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*** Reminder: I'm giving away two copies of CW Gortner's wonderful novel THE LAST QUEEN. Click here for details! ***