The Call of the Huntsman
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The story opens in 1999 with a grown-up and successful Frances Wiseman looking for Lambecote Grange and its land. The story then flashes back to 1889 and the land owning gentry and life seen through the eyes of Rosina, the grandmother of Frances. We share a century of heartbreaking events with Rosina and her daughter, Sarah. More
Frances Wiseman’s first six years were filled with fear and sleepless nights. Halten, the mining village where she lived, housed not just a working coalmine, but also an armaments factory within its boundaries. The Wiseman family’s greatest worries, however, were about their father who was a rear gunner in a Wellington bomber.
Most evenings, sirens would sound at around seven o’clock when the Luftwaffe came looking for their prey. The family gathered together and fled into the hastily built air raid shelter located in the garden next door. Frances’ mam tried to keep everyone calm by telling stories about her childhood—when her father was the local squire and hunt leader and she had her own lady’s maid. Her mam never mentioned gypsies in her stories. If the neighbours had any idea that this former mine manager’s family had gypsy blood in their veins, their lives would have become a living hell. None of the miner’s wives believed any of Sarah Wiseman’s stories, but Frances quietly promised her mam that she would find the girlhood home when she grew up and they could all live there together in peace and happiness as a family.
The story opens in 1999 with a grown-up and successful Frances Wiseman looking for Lambecote Grange and its land. The story then flashes back to 1889 and the landowning gentry and life seen through the eyes of Rosina, the grandmother of Frances. We share a century of heartbreaking events with Rosina and her daughter, Sarah. Sarah’s only solace as a child is in speaking secretly to her dead father, George Bingham (The Huntsman), through his silver hunting horn which she had rescued from the family home, Lambecote Grange, after his untimely death.
In much the same way that an impressionist artist portrays reality, this book paints an impression of the 20th century. Each decade is chronicled, and leaves a haunting impression on the reader before it moves on to the next. The author takes the reader on a trip through time, carefully brushing in the intricate details of the Wiseman family’s heritage. As we travel though the triumphs and tragedies of this family we experience wealth, poverty, Romany gypsies, and life in a Yorkshire Coal Mining Village—at a time when the production of coal was reckoned more precious than gold.