This month we read Black Diamonds by Catherine Bailey. Wentworth was the largest Georgian house in Britain, with a room for every day of the year and home to generations of the Fitzwilliams. It was surrounded by the South Yorkshire coalmines, the source of the family’s income for many years. Bailey charts the Fitzwilliams from the 6th to the 10th (and last) Earl, against a background of the demise of the coal industry. World Wars, the industrial revolution, social change and nationalisation saw the 70 pits, employing 115,000 men, in 1900 fall to just 4 pits employing 2,500 in the mid 1990’s. The history includes family feuds, forbidden love, rumours of a changeling and a class war.

The author has undertaken a large amount of research and some sections provide a very detailed history. Other parts are told in a more gossip-like style: King George V visits, one of the Earl’s has an affair with Kathleen Kennedy.

Few of the group managed to finish this lengthy book, although those who did found much of interest in this history.

Our future reading list is as follows:

Apr      Exit West                                             Mohsin Hamid

May     Klara and the Sun                               Kazuo Ishiguro

Jun      The Course of Love                             Alain de Botton

Jul        This Lovely City                                   Louisa Hare

Aug      Open Water                                        Caleb Azumah Nelson

Sept     Beautiful World Where Are You        Sally Rooney

Oct      Love After Love                                   Ingrid Persaud

Nov     Frostquake                                         Juliet Nicolson