What a charming character-led book this is. The writer has truly caught the essence of a small village which time has somehow passed by. Batch Magna, tucked away in a lush valley on the Welsh/English border is home to a closely-knit community and a group of tenants living on old paddle boats on the river. The old squire of Batch Hall has passed away and rumours begin to spread about the new squire, who will it be? Then letters begin to arrive announcing changes to the hall and the paddle steamers. Gossip is rife; the paddleboat tenants declare war on the new squire and eagerly plan his demise.
The new squire, Sir Humphrey Franklin T Strange arrives in the village intent on explaining to everyone the changes that must be made, in order to turn the crumbling Batch Hall once again to its former glory, but he finds any excuse, usually in the form of food or drink, not to confront everyone.
The writer’s descriptive skills are excellent, with both the people and the landscape. It is so easy to immerse yourself in the lives of all the characters and picture yourself standing, looking at the views across the valley that the characters themselves see.
This is an entertaining story, with many twists and turns, which makes guessing the ending all the harder. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.