Spring Comes to Emmerdale by Pamela Bell - book review: Spring Comes to Emmerdale is beautifully written and researched

Spring Comes to Emmerdale by Pamela BellSpring Comes to Emmerdale by Pamela Bell
Spring Comes to Emmerdale by Pamela Bell
Despite years of conflict, loss and grief, and now a deadly flu epidemic, the spirit of hope is still alive in the Yorkshire village of Beckindale in the spring of 1918.

For some, life will never be the same again and for others, the war has brought unprecedented changes to the accepted social order as class barriers are breached and scores of women prove that that they can fill the roles that once were only taken by men.

Welcome back to the second book in Pamela Bell’s enthralling saga series which explores the lives and loves of Emmerdale’s ever-popular families as they cope with the hardships and tragedies of the Great War and beyond.

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Emmerdale Farm, or Emmerdale as this hit ITV series is now known, has been running for nearly 47 years and is the nation’s second-longest-running television soap opera after Coronation Street, still attracting over seven million viewers six times a week.

And now these sweeping fictional sagas – which come from the pen of Pamela Bell who has written over 70 books as Jessica Hart and Pamela Hartshorne – are unearthing some of the incredible untold stories of real Yorkshire men and women from the unique perspective of the Emmerdale cast.

Following on from Christmas At Emmerdale, the first book in the series, Spring Comes to Emmerdale picks up where we left off as we travel back to beautiful but war-battered Beckindale in the Yorkshire Dales.

War might be raging and the popular Woolpack Inn reduced to a shell after a disastrous fire, but for Dot Colton, returning home from her munitions job in Bradford to visit her dying father, the village has lost none of its beauty… the cow parsley and buttercups still froth along the roadside, and the blackthorn blossom lies ‘like a thick milky white tablecloth’ over the hedgerows.

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The families of Emmerdale are trying their best to move on from the personal tragedies of a cruel war, but now a vicious flu epidemic is ‘running out of control’ and just the sound of a cough is making everyone uneasy.

Though a sense of grief and loss permeates the residents, and many hearts have been broken, Maggie Sugden from Emmerdale Farm, Rose Haywood and some of the other inhabitants of the village are finding independence, the chance to control their own destinies, and even opening themselves up to find love again.

Can the village rediscover happiness in the ruins of war?

Featuring favourite people and places like the Dingle family, The Woolpack Pub and Emmerdale Farm itself, this heartwarming and heartbreaking series is a delight for Emmerdale fans.

Just as in the TV series, family life is at the heart of this engrossing story as the personal dramas, passions, triumphs and disasters play out amidst all the turmoil and uncertainties of wartime in a tightly-knit village community.

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Many of the stories in the book have been inspired by the real accounts, diaries and letters of men and women from Yorkshire who lived through the Great War, including those from the village of Esholt, on which the Emmerdale set is now based.

Bell tells us that while Emmerdale is a fictional village, ‘it embodies the community life of villages across the whole of the country,’ and ‘we must never forget the great sacrifice made by so many; the gallant acts of bravery and the quiet stories of transformation of these ordinary men and women.’

Spring Comes to Emmerdale is beautifully written and researched, and filled with the kind of rich period detail that makes historical sagas such a winner with readers.

(Trapeze, hardback, £12.99)