‘Tales from Lindford’
2020 was famously an ‘unprecedented year’. Now, in Catherine’s Fox’s ‘Tales from Lindford’, readers can relive this extraordinary year – at a safe and non-contagious distance – through the eyes and experiences of the people of Lindchester in this heartfelt novel, which was originally written as a series of blogs in real time in the midst of the pandemic.
Bestselling author Katie Fforde praised ‘Tales from Lindford’ as ‘lyrical, compelling and full of insight’ while former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams commented that ‘Catherine Fox writes with immense compassion, unsentimental faith and an impressively undisciplined humour’.
Catherine Fox’s popular series The Lindchester Chronicles have been described as ‘the 21st century’s answer to Trollope’s Barchester’ and the first novel in the series, ‘Acts and Omissions’, was chosen as one of The Guardian’s books of 2014. The third book in the series left the people of Lindchester at the end of 2016 and was intended as the final book in the series – but 2020 gave Catherine an irresistible opportunity to return to Lindford, as she writes, ‘come with me, one more time, dear reader’.
Fans of The Lindchester Chronicles will delight in the opportunity to revisit old friends and find out how the last 4 years have treated them, while newcomers to the series are in for a treat (with the opening dramatis personae providing a handy guide as to how the lead characters relate to each other).
January 2020 opens quietly enough in Lindford, amidst vague concerns about the Australian bush fires and a general feeling of exhaustion about Brexit. But soon, as Catherine writes, ‘quietly, with barely a jingle of harness, another horseman of the apocalypse sets out to ride in a distant province of China.’
As the months unfold and the coronavirus threat becomes increasingly close, real and deadly, Fox traces the impact on Lindfordshire’s bishops, priests, nurses, musicians, hairdressers, university lecturers, runners and schoolchildren as daily life as they know it is brought to a standstill, to be replaced by face masks, hand sanitizer, working from home, Zoom meetings, shielding, isolating, home schooling, furlough, bubbles, quarantine and lockdown. From the diary of 11 year old Jess to the increasingly incoherent ramblings of Fr Dominic’s elderly mother, we walk alongside the characters as they experience frustration, fear, anger, grief, hopelessness, loneliness and boredom.
Yet, amidst the challenges brought by this extraordinary year and its ‘emotional concussion’, the community pulls together to support one another as best they can. Some households are full to bursting while other people spending lockdown alone, and the pandemic stretches some relationships to breaking point while breathing new life into others.
And even coronavirus cannot stop some of the natural rhythms of life – the yearning for a baby, the growing up of a teenager, and the rediscovery of love when it was least expected.
Warm, witty and wise, ‘Tales from Lindford’ offers a master storyteller’s take on a year which none of us will ever forget.
I absolutely loved Tales from Lindford It’s a warm and uplifting read that will genuinely draw you into its community and make you feel part of their world as they join together to survive and thrive during the pandemic…
In true Catherine Fox style, it features a fantastic cast of characters that you can totally believe in. When the world as they know it starts changing in front of their very eyes, they have to adapt and some of course find this easier than others. It’s an easy sentiment to connect with – I’m sure lots of you will had that feeling when you were forced by circumstances to change the way you worked, shopped and connected with family and friends. The impact on the whole community from bishops to young girls is considered– she’s trying to show that community and belonging somewhere is more important than we might imagine and sometimes the ‘new normal’ might create time to think about all that was wrong with our old ways of operating
Catherine Fox wrote this book from the heart, and it shows. It presents a picture of the places we come together in our communities – be those libraries, churches, schools or community centres and let’s face it – never have these places been more in need of defending! I’d absolutely love this book to be optioned and see it on our screens in the future. I’d love to get the chance to cast it and see these characters spring to life before our very eyes…
Tales from Lindford is a wonderful, warm and thought provoking read, the way that it commemorates an absolutely unique time in hostory in a very understated but brilliantly relatable way kept me turning the pages and nodding in recognition at the cavalcade of life that’s represented there. As a teacher myself, I found the Mrs Hill parts particularly fascinating and enjoyed the chance to see these events from a fictional perspective after battling through COVID and the lockdown as a real life teacher
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Rhoda Hardie for inviting me to participate in the Blog Tour – I certainly love Catherine Fox and Angels and Men is still a book I recommend to everyone and hope that they come to love it just as much as I do – If you haven’t discovered this absolute joy of a read, I recommend you buy yourself a copy immediately.
It’s been an honour to read Tales from Lindford as such a Catherine Fox fan and be part of its story – I’m totally certain that it’s going to be an amazing success. Buy yorself a copy here and connect with this unforgettable slice of British History that we all lived through together.
I hope Catherine Fox will forgive me if I say she doesn’t write like an angel; she writes like a human being, with immense compassion, unsentimental faith and an impressively undisciplined humour. Not many writers give such a vivid sense of what it is actually like to try and live in the light of absolute mercy. Very few indeed do it with such brilliance and freshness of language. –Rowan Williams on Tales from Lindford
Lyrical, compelling and full of insight. I found this very hard to put down. –Katie Fforde, The Sunday Times No.1 Bestselling Author
Catherine Fox’s glorious Lindchester series is the twenty-first-century answer to Trollope’s Barchester – but Trollope was never so funny, so fundamentally kind, or so mischievously attentive to grace. –Francis Spufford, author of Golden Hill –This text refers to the paperback edition.
Writer on The Shelf
Catherine Fox is Academic Director of the Manchester Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her debut novel Angels and Men was a Sunday Times Pick of the Year, and the first book in the Lindchester Chronicles, Acts and Omissions, was chosen as a Guardian Book of 2014. Catherine is married to the Bishop of Sheffield and is a judo black belt.