I was approached to review this book because I had read (and loved) Fall of Giants by Ken Follett. Are these two books similar? Well, they're both really long, and they tell a story of a period of a time rather than any one character.
Long Summer's Day follows Paul Craddock, who, after an injury, buys Shallowford and becoems Squire Craddock. The novel follows his life after becoming Squire, and how he impacts the tenants and inhabitants of valley, and how they impact him. While Paul is undeniably the top dog, so to speak, other main characters include Claire, Ikey, Rudd, and ok, there are a lot and I'm not going to list them here. It's through the collective story of these people that you get a sense of England in the early 1900s, and how they were (resisting) change.
My favourite character of this book is probably Claire. Although she did not feature prominently in the first half of the book (apart from the first few chapters), I liked her because of her generous nature. She has a really loving spirit, and is unflinchingly honest.
Curiously, I didn't like Grace, the feminist and women's suffrage campaigner even though, when I think about it, the two of them are quite alike. They both know what they want, although they want different things. Perhaps it's because most of the novel is seen through Paul's eyes, and Grace hurts Paul quite badly emotionally. Or it could because Grace was somehow too unique, and I didn't like her because I didn't understand her.
This is a long, winding read, and it's at its best when the author is just letting the story speak. At certain times, the author tries to give an overview of how all the character feels through a bird flying or something like that, and for that moment, it goes very close to the bother of pretentiousness. But thankfully, such moments are few, and the book is a lovely read because it manages to tell the tale of many people in a straightforward manner.
I would definitely recommend to fans of long reads like Fall of Giants. It's not a fast-paced adventure, but rather, follows the meandering road of a man's life.
Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.