The Valorous Years, by A. J. Cronin

This book was first published as a serial novella in 1940 in Good Housekeeping Magazine.  The chapters are short and the story moves quickly, thus you can see how it was written for the way it was published.

I just so much enjoyed reading The Valorous Years.  The main character is of course a doctor.  A young man from a poor Scottish family with a handicap of a withered arm.  There are three women is his life, the girl he went to school with Margaret, from the local squires hall. Anna an Austrian doctor and the Jean the daughter of a village doctor.

Plus you have the antagonists, the local council men who he flouts and goes on to St. Andrew’s University to win a scholarship and become a doctor; much against his mother’s wishes and estranging himself from her and leaving behind his alcoholic father.

His rival is also a doctor, son of a local wealthy builder Mr Overton, self-centered and arrogant a thorn in his side through out the story. Contrasted with this are the good friends he made in the beautiful Scottish valley which is under threat from Mr Overton, who has built a dam with an ugly aluminium plant which scars the valley.

The characters are fleshed out enough to be interesting. If you’re looking for a quick read with a heart warming ending, then this is it.

Christy

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