If you love animals and you aren’t already a fan of James Herriot’s books, start reading “If Only They Could Talk”, which is the first in this delightful series, this summer and you are sure to want more! Herriot’s books which centre on a veterinary practice in Harraby actually inspired the popular BBC TV series “All Creatures Great and Small.”
As the book begins, newly qualified vet James Herriot arrives to take up his first job in the small Yorkshire village of Darraby, not quite knowing what to expect. The book is based on James Alfred Wight (James Herriot’s) experiences as a country vet in Yorkshire in the 1930s. It follows the young vet’s adventures as he tries to fit in with the thrifty, naturally distrustful farming community who are suspicious of any kind of change including modern veterinary medicine and techniques.
In a succession of inter-related tales, some sad and some hilarious through the changing seasons, this well-woven partially autobiographical story (and the books that follow), transport the reader back to a time in the Yorkshire Dales when there were no mod cons. As well as farmers, James is introduced to the rich and eccentric Mrs Pumphrey and her pampered Pekingese Tricky Woo who rewards “Uncle Herriott” with gift hampers. And besides the challenges of proving himself as a professional vet to the Yorkshire farmers, James’ developing relationship with his quirky boss Seigfried Farnon and his student brother Tristan provides many an amusing and the occasional poignant moment.
“If Only They Could Talk” is the first of a series including “All Creatures Great and Small”, “It Shouldn’t happen to a Vet”, “Let Sleeping Vets Lie”, “All Things Bright and Beautiful”, “Vet in Harness”, “Vets Might Fly”, “Vet in a Spin”, and “The Lord God Made them All.” These best selling books chronicle over forty years of James Wight’s life and can be enjoyed by readers of all ages.
So popular is Alf Wight aka James Heriot that his books have been translated into many languages and produced in various formats including audio books.
As well as these being a mix of interesting, heart-warming and intriguing tales, another reason this book makes good holiday reading is because you can easily pick it up and put it down. Each chapter starts a new tale and although each tale is part of a developing story this makes for very easy and delightful summer reading. Not only this but with this being the first of a series, it is likely that James Herriot won’t just be keeping you entertained during your summer vacation but will be providing you with ample entertainment over the autumn and winter months to come!