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Kit's Hill

(The Howarth Saga #1)

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  75 ratings  ·  23 reviews
Reissue of 'By Our Beginnings'

The year is 1760. High on Garth Fells in the county of Lancashire, life is ruled by bitter cold winds. Ned Howarth, owner of Kit’s Hill farm, knows he needs to marry to carry on the line of Howarths who have owned the land for centuries. Captivated by the bright and beautiful Miss Dorcas Wilde, he pens her a humble proposal of marriage. When
Kindle Edition, 286 pages
Published May 19th 2015 by Endeavour Press (first published August 1979)
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Average rating 4.09  · 
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After the death of her parents, Dorcas Wilde had become her elderly aunt's companion. As a gentle woman, her life consisted of a cup of chocolate at eight, dinner at one, tea time between the hours of four and five and supper at seven. She read her book, tried her hand at needlepoint, took a walk if the weather permitted or played backgammon or piquet with her relative. Minus a periodic dance or musical evening, her life was dull.

’She was so sheltered. So motionless.’

Dorcas wanted a life and
Oct 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
By Our Beginnings is a story that follows a family, a man and wife, their relatives, close friends, and servants through years and years ending with the marriage of the 'children'. It has an everyday plot which was comforting for me. The writing was nothing I have come upon at if I could compare it from my past reading experience it would come to Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell. It was a little complicated at the beginning as the language is rural. The correspondences and the talk were peculiar to ...more
Dec 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a sweet story that spans over 30+ years. It is not a fast-paced storyline but it covered the ensuing years nicely without feeling rushed. We follow Miss Dorcas Wilde's life from spinsterhood to bride, motherhood, and eventually being a grandmother. It explores class differences, small town living along with small town mentality. I really enjoyed this as it was just a well told story and kept within the realm of reality. For those looking for romance within an action/adventure setting ...more
May 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Wonderful and warm!

Ned Howarth's letter to the beautiful Miss Dorcas Wilde is wonderful. Heartfelt and hesitant it reveals his heart. After all a man can dream and a 'cat can look at a queen'. This rare look into the rural life of a farming family in the high hills of Lancashire County in the late 1700's, over thirty years, is a treat. Dorcas and her adjustment to the life and the adjustment of others to her shows Dorcas' tenacity in this life changing journey she undertakes. The inhabitants of
Jane Willis
Nov 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A few summers ago I sat with my husband on a hillside high above the North Lancashire coastal plain, enjoying a picnic while we watched a mail van meandering, Postman Pat style, through the lanes linking the farms and hamlets on the lower slopes. We discussed how isolated it must be living in such an area, and the problems that could arise if the roads were closed by weather or obstructions, or the internet or phone connections failed.

This book is set in that area, but in the second half of the
booklover BEV
Nov 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Enchanting story. Lancashire 1760, at kits hill farm. Dorcas Wilde lives with her aunt and agrees to a marriage to Ned Howarth the marriage throughout the year's is not all plain sailing. I really enjoyed this book, wonderfully written by the author, excellent right till the end. A truly Heartbreaking tale that will touch your heart. Loved it well worth five star's
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Kit's Hill is a beautifully crafted, captivating historical saga set in late 18th-century Lancashire. The writing is poetic, even lyrical at times, and atmospheric. The use of authentic local vernacular rooted me firmly in the time and place. There are vivid descriptions of the landscape, although sometimes it was a bit more information than I could comfortably process, and admittedly I did skim some of it. The characters are complex, if somewhat sparsely described. The sweeping tale of the ...more
Nov 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Dorcas lives a dull life as a companion to her aunt. She has no dowry so sees little chance of marrying and having her own home. Unknown to Dorcas she has an admirer, a local farmer, who has watched her from afar for several years and who finally writes to her proposing marriage. Her aunt and her friends are astounded at the insolence of the man and initially Dorcas refuses. Ned does not give up easily and continues to write describing his house, life and prospects. Dorcas becomes intrigued by ...more
Dec 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
All in all this was a good book. I got lost a few times because to me places were a little boring but I take as much responsibility for that as I place on the author. The story follows Doracs, her husband Ned and their family in the 1790’s from when they met to their later years. I like stories about strong women and Dorcas is definitely strong. She endures some hard times. The story is written well and I would read another from the author I do think it could have been condensed some. Thank you ...more
Kat Klein
May 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was kind of a historical romance, with a kind of Anne of Green Gables/ Little Women sort of charm. Ned Howarth loved Dorcas, a woman of the Gentry, and dared to ask her to marry him. This was frowned upon by both her class, and his. This tells of the struggles Ned and Dorcas faced from the beginning of their marriage in the mid 1700s, all the way through most of their life together in the late 1700s. It's a story of love conquering class boundaries, and triumphing through joys and ...more
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book begins in the mid 1700's, set on a farm called Kit's Hill in Lancanshire. It was simply wonderful. Nothing was sanitized and definitely not romanticized. This book takes place over a number of years, before the main couple marry and until they are in their 60's. I felt like I took a trip back to the past, reading this book, and am the richer for it. I highly recommend this book.
Helen Hollick
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book has received a Discovering Diamonds Review:
Helen Hollick
founder #DDRevs

"What Poldark did for Cornish tin-mining, Kit's Hill does for Lancashire farming."
Saw the blurb and was compelled to pick this up with little investigation on my part. I saw the romance of a yeoman farmer and a daughter of a gentleman during the mid-Georgian period in Lanchashire and had a feeling about it. And it wasn't long before I realized that I'd probably picked something up that would rival Poldark in its sweeping settings, atmosphere, deftly drawn characters, and the beginning of a family saga set in interesting times of a market town emerging as a manufacturing ...more
Aug 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Have you ever had the privilege of listening to a story where the characters are brought to life with their own voice and mannerisms? Where you sat enthralled as you listened to the story come alive for you in your imagination? If so, then you know you were in the presence of a true storyteller. Jean Stubbs is such a person.

Kit’s Hill was brought to life as the characters “spoke” in their different speech patterns. It was difficult for me at first to read these patterns but without them the
Sep 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Trigger warning: The couple has a stillborn.

So this book is the kind of book I dream of reading. It was so sweeping and consuming. It was character driven and dialogue rich. I wish I could find a million more just like it.

Dorcas has the unfortunate circumstance that she is too poor for a gentleman but to well born to marry an average person. So she's basically stuck. Ned Howarth is madly in love with her though, and he sets his hat at having her. His honest love wins her over. Which makes her
a j wattle
Jan 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Detailed historical saga

I enjoyed this it was gritty and realistic.
Very detailed and using authentic language, I was captivated by the story and its characters.
At the centre was a compelling and consuming love story.
I shall certainly be reading the next book in the series.
Randi Lanz
Sep 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
She almost lost me at the very beginning where Ned wrote his first letter. So glad I read past it and gave it a chance. The characters were engaging, and I enjoyed the book very much. -- I received a complementary digital copy in exchange for an honest review.
Oct 29, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An aristocratic lady marries a farmer and scandalized the countryside.
May 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read back in 1981 ,thought it was 'a good book' according to my diary
Samantha Parker
I registered a book at!
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Nov 18, 2018
Suzette Sullivan
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Jul 19, 2018
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Jul 23, 2015
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May 07, 2014
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Mar 11, 2017
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Apr 25, 2013
Evelyn Jones
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Mar 01, 2018
John Bentley
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Feb 14, 2016
Pam Ela
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Nov 30, 2016
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Jun 28, 2015
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Aka Emma Darby

Jean was born in Lancashire and educated in Manchester. She has written many novels and short stories for magazines and collections, several of which have been adapted for radio and television. She has lived for more than twenty years in a cottage in Cornwall, England, with her husband.

Other books in the series

The Howarth Saga (4 books)
  • An Imperfect Joy (The Howarth Saga, #2)
  • The Vivian Inheritance (The Howarth Saga, #3)
  • The Northern Correspondent (The Howarth Saga, #4)