Every scene is clear, every character immediately recognisable . . . brilliant
The book is exciting . . . a pleasure to be remembered
It has the lilt and inevitability of an old ballad . . . [He] skilfully portrays the friendships and antagonisms in rural Cumberland, a territory he has staked out as his own
With this novel, Melvyn Bragg has established his place in English letters to the extent that his Cumbria is as potent a literary region as Hardy's Wessex, Lawrence's Midlands and Housman's Shropshire
Beautifully told . . .the story unfolds with admirable simplicity . . . even the most brutal and inarticulate characters somehow manage to engage our sympathies
An effortless writer. He never strains for effect, simply achieves it
Nothing is harder to convey in fiction than the idea of simple goodness without it appearing soppy or naïve. But Melvyn Bragg succeeds.
As he demonstrates yet again in Josh Lawton, Melvyn Bragg has a rare ability to communicate both happiness and goodness
[Bragg] is a poetic eye, a visionary of sorts.
The pleasure to be had from this book is that of feeling, without having been exposed to any lies or romantic evasions, that the world is perhaps a better place that one had thought
A nearly perfect work of art. Within the confines of craggy Cumberland, Bragg brings to life a handful of people, exposes the violence and brutality of British rural life and does it with a skill and sincerity unmatched since D. H. Lawrence.