Sarum by Edward Rutherfurd
So utterly thrilled to have @thisenglishhome 1 of our most beloved accounts & kindest people on here. Her passion for design, authenticity & advocacy sets her apart, & she is a beautiful writer:
“I struggled to choose my favourite book. I’ve read at least 1 a week since I was 13 & I’m 34 this year. I devour anything & everything, if it sits still long enough, I’ll read it. George R R Martin captured it perfectly: “I have lived a thousand lives & I’ve loved a thousand loves, I’ve walked on distant worlds & seen the end of time. Because I read.”
Within minutes of opening a book I am someone else, I am somewhere else, & I have been both those things endless times over in infinite combinations. Each one has touched & curated different parts of me, so picking a favourite…impossible.
Instead I chose the first 1 that made me feel every emotion: awe, disgust, fascination, fear, love, confusion. It was a toss up between “The Pillars of the Earth” & this book, “Sarum” which I chose because it spans longer & is lesser known.
Sarum covers millennia, from the end of the Ice Age it follows 5 families through the next 20,000+ years, jumping from the Neolithic hunter-gatherer settlers to the first Bronze Age farmers, from Pagans building Stone Henge to the arrival of the Romans. It gallops through the Anglo-Saxons, the Vikings, Normans, the early Medieval “enlightenment”, the terrifying arrival & devastation of The Plague, the Tudors, the brief Republic, to the Victorian’s & all the way to 1985.
British history plays out as we follow the same families through the ages, falling in love, feuding, facing loss, famine, triumph. It’s set against the beautiful backdrop of 5 rivers meeting in Salisbury. An epic I cannot condense down into 1 IG caption it’s truly a masterpiece of research, writing & feeling. Fair warning it takes initial perseverance but once you get in you’re there for the long haul, all 20,000 years.
Disclaimer: reading it through a modern nuanced lens there are of course areas I disagree with, it was written by a very privileged white man in 1985. There are areas I would change/ leave out & expand, ideas / notions I entirely rebuke”.
Order your copy here.