I’ve decided in the past week that I suffered from a deprived adolescence. Why, oh why did my teenage reading not include R.F. Delderfield’s To Serve Them All My Days? Clearly my mother never read it, or she’d have given it to me, but I cannot remember it being in the school library or even seeing any friends reading it. And when the TV series (which won several awards) aired in the early 1980s, I can’t remember even hearing of it (perhaps it did not screen in NZ?). It was adapted by that veteran, Andrew Davies, and must have been one of his first adaptations. But I’m making up for lost time now.
I LOVED reading this book and will be forever grateful to the friend who lent me her copy! It’s a moving, funny, heartfelt novel, that not only gives a delightful picture of the life of a schoolmaster, but is also an excellent slice of history about England between the wars. It’s set in a glorious part of England – Exmoor. One reviewer called the book “an autumnal comforter” and as I read it during autumn, I can attest to the comfort it gave me in this stressful Covid time.
R.F. Delderfield (1912 – 1972) was an English novelist and playwright. The R.F. stands for Ronald Frederick. His father was a meatworker at Smithfield Market, and then started a newspaper. Delderfield was a prolific writer, and I was intrigued to discover that the very first Carry On film was based on one of his plays.
So now I have the delightful prospect ahead of me of A Horseman Riding By, Give Us This Day and God is an Englishman as I prove that it’s never too late to make up for a deprived adolescence.
Have you read R.F. Delderfield’s books? Which one should I read next? Let me know in a comment.
To Serve Them All My Days by R.F. Delderfield
Long Summer Day (A Horseman Riding By Book 1) by R.F. Delderfield
Post of Honour (A Horseman Riding By Book 2) by R.F. Delderfield
Give Us This Day by R.F. Delderfield
God is an Englishman by R.F. Delderfield