Through the Valley

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Through the Valley


First edition
Author Robert Henriques
Language English
Publisher Collins
Publication date
Media type Print

Through the Valley is a novel by Robert Henriques, published in 1950, about the decline of an English country house, Neapcaster Park, before and after World War II. The book follows the growing up of three boys: Geoff, son of the estate manager Richard Greenley who grows up in the lodge and goes out hunting with the estate family; Ralph, son of General Harry Meredith, the owner of the estate; and David son of Daniel Levine, an intelligent but physically clumsy Jew.

Robert David Quixano Henriques was a British writer, broadcaster and farmer. He gained modest renown for two award-winning novels and two biographies of Jewish business tycoons, published during the middle part of the 20th century.

English country house larger mansion estate in England, UK

An English country house is a large house or mansion in the English countryside. Such houses were often owned by individuals who also owned a town house. This allowed them to spend time in the country and in the city—hence, for these people, the term distinguished between town and country. However, the term also encompasses houses that were, and often still are, the full-time residence for the landed gentry that ruled rural Britain until the Reform Act 1832. Frequently, the formal business of the counties was transacted in these country houses.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.



In the first scene, set around a major hunt, Miss May one of the servants at the park, is seduced by Frank the footman. Subsequently, they marry. Frank becomes a taxi driver, and his gradual rise in the world mirrors the decline of the estate. That same night the three boys go clambering over the roof of Neapcaster Park. David falls, and it appears to be Ralph's fault. The friction between David and Ralph runs through the novel.

Another major character is Alex, a distant relative. She grows up abroad and only comes into the story in the second part. She marries Ralph but loves Geoff and in the end they are united.

Awards and nominations

This novel won the James Tait Black Award in 1950.

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