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SHORTLISTED FOR THE WALTER SCOTT PRIZE 2020 A love divided. A world torn in two. A return. A redemption. A stirring, exquisitely rendered tale of homecoming; the final instalment in Tim Pears's epic West Country Trilogy It is 1916. Lottie Prideaux rides the winding lanes of her childhood on her motorcycle, defying the expectations of her class and sex as she trains to be a vet. Meanwhile young Leo Sercombe finds himself a long way from home, hauling coal aboard the HMS Queen Mary in the middle of the ocean. Here life is raw, bloody and vivid, with death never more than a heartbeat away. As Leo and Lottie wander in this strange and brave new world, and as war, loss, violence and betrayal conspire to tear asunder the ties that bind the past, present and future together, can even the most fated of returns - and redemptions - hope to come to pass?
An absolutely exquisite moment in reading time, and one to cherish. Concentrating on Leo and Lottie, from the world at war in 1916 to survival beyond, this is the last in the ‘West Country Trilogy’, however, The Redeemed can easily be read as standalone as I’ve stepped straight into the final book and adored it. I will admit that I do desperately want to read the first two now, and believe I will be able to do so without feeling as though I have missed out on the reading journey. Tim Pears writes with wonderful clarity, small details create a fully painted picture, every word matters and is perfectly placed. Life on board the battlecruiser came to stark realistic life while back in the West Country the farming community committed to the cycle of life. Leo and Lottie live in their moment, in their time, yet their story feels gracefully ageless and everlasting. With joy and heartache waiting to be discovered The Redeemed is an eloquent, gorgeous and fully satisfying read, it is quite simply, beautiful.
SHORTLISTED FOR THE WINSTON GRAHAM HISTORICAL PRIZE 2018 The beautiful, questing second novel in Tim Pears' acclaimed West Country trilogy. Two teenagers, bound by love yet divided by fate, forge separate paths in pre-First World War Devon and Cornwall Lonely and grieving for her exiled best friend, thirteen-year-old Lottie feels a prisoner. Her only solace is her study of the natural world around her father's estate: the strange profusion of its plants, the beauty and brutality of its predators, its mysterious dances of life, death and survival. Grazing on berries and sleeping in copses, Leo travels alone through the wild, strange tapestry of the West Country towards Penzance. But a wanderer is never alone for long - and when the gypsy waggons rattle into view, Leo is drawn into a colourful and dangerous world far beyond his imagination.
This begins The West Country Trilogy starting in 1911. It follows two years in the life of young Leo as he skips school as often as he can to help his father, brothers and cousin on one of the six farms on Lord Grenvil’s land. This is the time of the horse, long before tractors. Young Leo, although encountering pigs and cattle, is very much the horseman of the title and as he learns so, too, do we. In fact early on nearly four pages are devoted to the art of grooming. There are long sections on ploughing and horse maintenance, farming and shooting, all slow, detailed and full of country lore. At its centre is the social difference of two children who become friends through the love of horses, a friendship that is sadly misinterpreted. This is elegant, evocative prose with the change of seasons flowing gently through a tale spotted with tragedy and drama. ~ Sarah Broadhurst
From the prize-winning author of In the Place of Fallen Leaves comes a beautiful, hypnotic pastoral novel reminiscent of Thomas Hardy, about an unexpected friendship between two children, set in Devon in 1911 1911. In a forgotten valley, on the Devon-Somerset border, the seasons unfold, marked only by the rituals of the farming calendar. Twelve-year-old Leopold Sercombe skips school to help his father, a carter. Skinny and pale, with eyes as dark as sloes, Leo dreams of a job on the Master's stud farm. As ploughs furrow the hard January fields, the Master's daughter, young Miss Charlotte, shocks the estate's tenants by wielding a gun at the annual shoot. Spring comes, Leo watches swallows build their nests, hedgerows thrum with life and days lengthen into summer. Leo is breaking a colt for his father when a boy dressed in a Homburg, breeches and riding boots appears. Peering under the stranger's hat, he discovers Charlotte.And so a friendship begins, bound by a deep love of horses, but divided by rigid social boundaries - boundaries that become increasingly difficult to navigate as they approach adolescence... Hallucinatory, beautiful and suffused with the magic of nature, this tale of an unlikely friendship and the loss of innocence builds with a hypnotic power. Evoking the realities of agricultural life with precise, poetic brushstrokes, Tim Pears has created a masterful, Hardyesque pastoral novel. The first in a dazzling new trilogy, The Horseman is his greatest achievement.