Cast The First Stone by Margaret Thornton is a marvellous historical novel and the first book in the Yorkshire Saga series which promises to be fantastic.
The novel is set in the 1960’s in a small Dales community (it looks like Reeth to me on the cover). The tale also projects backwards to Leeds in the early 1950’s and also covers World War II as we learn about the backgrounds of the two lead characters.
Life was a lottery during WWII especially for members of the RAF. Morals and values were different to peacetime as tomorrow could not be guaranteed so today was seized.
The early 1950’s saw a very different attitude to unmarried mothers. Single girls who found themselves pregnant were seen as bringing shame to their family and were shipped off to church-run homes for the duration of the pregnancy. Following the birth, babies were taken away for adoption. It was a time where love was in short supply as appearances were what mattered.
The novel explores friendships. We see the courage needed to stand up to those who bully the more vulnerable. We witness kindness and compassion that counter balance those who like to gossip and cause strife.
Life in a small Dales town is close knit. We meet new characters who delight us, as well as meeting those who are so entrenched in life that any change is met with much resistance.
All the characters are delightfully drawn, a real eclectic mix such as you would find in any close-knit community.
I have thoroughly enjoyed book one and it is on to book two now for me.