Readers adored James Herriot’s tales of his life as a Yorkshire animal doctor in All Creatures Great and Small and All Things Bright and Beautiful. Now here’s a third delightful volume of memoirs rich with Herriot’s own brand of humor, insight, and wisdom.
In the midst of World War II, James is training for the Royal Air Force, while going home to Yorkshire whenever possible to see his very pregnant wife, Helen. Musing on past adventures through the dales, visiting with old friends, and introducing scores of new and amusing character–animal and human alike–Herriot enthralls with his uncanny ability to spin a most engaging and heartfelt yarn.
Millions of readers have delighted in the wonderful storytelling and everyday miracles of James Herriot in the over thirty years since his delightful animal stories were first introduced to the world.
This past weekend I binge-watched seasons 1 and 2 of PBS Masterpiece’s All Creatures Great and Small (Amazon), and I was happy to find out that the third and fourth books of the James Herriot series were released on audio with Nicholas Ralph narrating them. In anticipation of the Season 3 premiere of the TV series, I listened to All Things Wise and Wonderful and The Lord God Made Them All (Audible).
James Herriot’s books are delightful to read, but they’re also great to listen to if you’re a fan of the current TV Series. There are actually two versions of the audiobooks, with the other versions being narrated by Christopher Timothy, who starred in the original series that was out in the late 1980’s and 1990s. I like them both, but I lean more towards Nicholas Ralph’s narration because of the Scottish accent which rings truer to the stories.
All Things Wise and Wonderful picks up where All Things Bright and Beautiful left off, with war looming and James entering the RAF. The story goes back and forth between his training in the army and his time in Yorkshire, tending to the animals, making a home with Helen and the impending birth of their first child. I still found the same charm and warmth to the stories, even the war stories, which don’t touch on the travesty of wars or the horrors seen. This is just basic training for James, and for that, I am thankful.
The Lord God Made Them All goes into James’ life post-war, bringing his young son Jimmy with him on calls, and then when his daughter, Rosie, is born, taking her out as well. Some say the stories aren’t as charming as the original stories, and I’d have to disagree. They’re just different because of the change in time from the 1930s to the 1940s and 50s. I’m glad he didn’t try to recreate conversations with the kids because I think that would have hurt the stories and just mentioned the kids in a general way.
The humor is still there in both books, with familiar and new characters popping in and out. Herriot (A. Wight in real life) may have been a great vet, but he was a fantastic storyteller as well. I’ve enjoyed these books since the mid 1980s and this added dimension of having the star of the TV show narrate just brought them to life even more, as if they needed any help. 🙂
I’m curious to find out how season 3 of All Creatures Great and Small will adapt the books. While taking liberties with the original source material, I think the series stays true to the spirit of the books.
For my other reviews of the books and series, see #AllCreaturesGreatandSmall Book and #PBSMasterpiece Review and #AllThingsBrightandBeautiful by #JamesHerriot narrated by #NicholasRalph #AudiobookReview #PBSMasterpiece
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