Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “In a Land of Plenty” as Want to Read:
In a Land of Plenty
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

In a Land of Plenty

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  260 ratings  ·  27 reviews
In 1952, Charles and Mary Freeman marry, take possession of a mansion high on a hill overlooking a small industrial town somewhere in the heart of England, and begin their family. This, Tim Pears' second novel, is the sweeping, rich, and astonishing tale of the first 30 years of their lives and the lives of their four children, Simon, James, Robert, and Alice.

Paperback, 544 pages
Published March 15th 1999 by Picador (first published February 15th 1998)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about In a Land of Plenty, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about In a Land of Plenty

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  260 ratings  ·  27 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Diane Barnes
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
I know I'm not the only one whose unread books speak to them, and maybe to each other. I hear them murmuring quietly in the background, wondering who will be next, how long before I give them a chance to prove themselves, waiting patiently for their turn. For the most part, they are remarkably well-behaved. But that all changed when I plucked this one off the shelf. They began to scream at me! "No fair, he just got here 6 months ago! Some of us have been waiting for years! Plus it's 540 pages! 5 ...more
May 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Epic, brilliantly written. Wonderful despite (because of?) some nasty people/events. Cleverly pulls your sympathies between different characters at different times, creating a strange tension.
Diane Standish
Jun 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My 2rd five star book of the year. This was a story of a family. I was totally captivated by the style of writing and how well it was written. highly recommended
Feb 03, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Why? Why did I read all 544 pages of this?
There were times I enjoyed the story quite a bit but then the author would throw in some sexual detail which would really irk me because I just don’t like reading those things. They distract me from the story AND detract from the story. (Yes, Mr. Pears, I understand this boy finds the girl attractive but I really don’t want to hear about the state of his *cough* loins.)
For the first 300 pages this was my reading experience: “Tralala! Oh, isn’t this love
Sep 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I love epic stories which span lifetimes and generations and Tim Pears' prose just sings in "In a Land of Plenty." I was son intimately invloved with the characters as the decades unfloded that the final scenes were gutwrenching, both in their sorrow and in the knowledge that the story was coming to its conclusion. I also have a soft spot for this book, as it delves into historical English cookery, a passion of mine.

Pears captures the turbulence both within and without a single family, demonstr
May 18, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: bildungsroman
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kirsty Darbyshire
Dec 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-book

This was fabulous. A long stretching family saga kind of thing that I could have kept reading forever. The story is about rise and fall of Charles Freeman and his family, mostly centering on one of his sons James. Starts in the 1950s and works its way up to the late 90s or so. Takes in the changes of English society and politics over the years. Very wide but it doesn't get out of hand. I loved it.

Sep 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
By chance I found this book in a little charity shop, and what a gem I found! An amazing book that made me laugh, cry and exclaim out loud. I found the first chapter a little hard going to be honest, but once I got used to the writing style I was grabbed and absorbed by this families trials and tribulations. Not many books fill me with such emotion to make me cry, but this one did and I will certainly be looking for other books by this author.
Jan 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
One of my favourite ever books. A wonderful family saga with lots of brilliant characters. I read it 4 years ago and was so sorry to finish it. I have read two of his other books, but did not enjoy them nearly as much.
John-henry Barac
Jan 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
An astonishing meander through the lifetime of a man, his family and their place in the English town where they live. The story takes the reader through many social and political issues of the 20th century as these are the context which the characters inhabit. Marvellous characters. I loved it.
Apr 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books
James Freeman is my favorite character of all time. This book blows me away every time I read it.
Jill Gurney
Mar 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed
(1997) Long (652 pages) and rather different from other books I've read by Tim Pears. Set in a town, it covers a period of about forty years and the fortunes of one family, particularly one member, James.
Jo Birkett
Mar 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-target
Absorbing sweep of a novel, I just settled back and enjoyed the strong narrative thread. Occasionally the characters approach caricatures but that's a minor quibble.
Elizabeth Torphy
Apr 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Lovely writer.
This is a doorstop of a book running at nearly 700 pages in paperback and it needs to be as it's trying to show us British society since the 1950s through the story of a single (albeit complex) family. I started off really enjoying it, but as it went on I felt that I wanted more dialogue and less third-person narration. The way the book is narrated makes it feel like a history lesson and it made the characters seem less real to me somehow - I'd rather have learned about them through what they sa ...more
Can an adaptation really surpass the original work, or is it just a question of what you get your hands on first? I've never been able to find an answer to the question "Book or TV/Film adaptation", but I had to give it a try with "In a Land of Plenty". The BBC mini-series is superb, and it still pains me that it was never released on DVD so I could watch it over and over again (and probably cry over and over again), so I had to give the book a try, to see if it was as good as the tv series. The ...more
Aug 22, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mental-holiday
I read this book because I (very, very vaguely) remember the series, and as it's not available on DVD, I wanted to read the story (yup, I'm a philistine.)

This book is a family epic, following the Freeman family as they plod on through post-WWII Britain, during times of prosperity and loss.

Unfortunately, it plodded. Even with the massive catastrophe at the end, I wasn't really engaged with the characters. In fact, in the beginning sections I kept losing track of which child was which. I especial
Feb 09, 2010 rated it did not like it
This is a great book for people who love epic family sagas. Trust me, you'll love this.

Personally, I couldn't care less about family sagas, epic or not. In fact, I really really don't like them. Which I should have remembered before I bought and tried to read this book, because then I wouldn't have to rate it so badly for a reasons that is really not the books fault. It said epic family saga, it delivered epic family saga.

Well, at least I think it did. I gave up after about 150 pages.

And yet ano
Apr 27, 2011 is currently reading it
I am reading Tim Pears' debut novel 'In the place of falling leaves', and as I passed the bookshelf spotted this other book by Pears. I was really surprised as I really cannot remember buying it or seeing it before (can only think I bought it with my other half in mind), and was even more surprised that as I started reading it I absolutely loved it! Reminiscent for me of Isabel Allande's House of the Spirits (another favoutite from my late teens), I could just eat it....!
Nov 29, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People who want to read good prose
I really enjoyed this book, but didn't fully realize it until I was done and had to leave the characters—my favorites being Adamina, Laura, and Zoe. I didn't fully appreciate James until the end. Probably my most memorable book of the year. Surprising, since it was was a fairly quiet novel and didn't try half as hard to be zany or morbid. Ugh. Speaking of which, I'm going to return Briar Rose. I don't want it in my apartment anymore.
Jane Massy
Sep 16, 2012 rated it it was ok
A sweeping review of Britain from end go WW2 until end of 20th century through the lives of one family. OK but limited characters, mainly unsympathetic and in determination to cover all social and political issues that impacted on lives of 'ordinary' people, runs through envy thing mostly superficially. An easy read.
Feb 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A seemingly love it or hate it book. I found it a beguiling read that rewarded initial patience over its long length to deliver some telling social commentary on post-war Britain as well as serving up some rich complex characters whose lives are put into context by the powerful and devastating climactic chapters.
I read this a while back, but I loved it. It's one of those long novels you can lose yourself in, tracing characters and their families from childhood to how they turn up. It takes place in mid-century Britain and looks at one well-off large family.
May 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
loved it, tim pears is for me a late 20c laurie lee.
Sep 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
First Tim Pears book I've read, family sage, happy and sad in turns. Would recommend and have now bought another couple of his books to read.
Jan 31, 2009 rated it did not like it
I thought this book was plenty boring.
rated it really liked it
Nov 20, 2012
Susan Davis
rated it it was ok
Oct 12, 2018
rated it really liked it
Jul 25, 2008
Nic  Thorpe
rated it it was amazing
Jan 06, 2019
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Instances of the Number 3
  • Anniversaries: From the Life of Gesine Cresspahl
  • Buried Alive
  • Our Hidden Lives: The Remarkable Diaries of Postwar Britain
  • The Needle's Eye
  • He Wants
  • Toad Triumphant
  • The Undertow
  • Haweswater
  • Tomorrow
  • Land Girls (Land Girls #1)
  • Without Prejudice
  • Mrs Fyttons Country Life
  • One Fine Day
  • What Was Promised
  • The Levant Trilogy
  • Goodnight Amy: An unforgettable wartime saga of family, love and secrets
  • The Martian War: A Thrilling Eyewitness Account of the Recent Invasion As Reported by Mr. H.G. Wells
See similar books…
Born in 1956, Tim Pears grew up in Devon and left school at sixteen. He worked in a wide variety of unskilled jobs: trainee welder, assistant librarian, trainee reporter, archaeological worker, fruit picker, nursing assistant in a psychiatric ward, groundsman in a hotel & caravan park, fencer, driver, sorter of mail, builder, painter & decorator, night porter, community video maker and art ...more