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Adrian Bell (1901-1980) was born in Lancashire and grew up in London but wished for a life in the open air. In 1920 he apprenticed himself to a West Suffolk farmer, an experience that would inspire him to farm on his own. His celebrated trilogy Corduroy (1930), Silver Ley (1931) and The Cherry Tree (1932) grew out of that same raw material.
The Cherry Tree (1932) finds Bell back at the helm of the Silver Ley farm whose running he took over in the second panel of the trilogy. The farming business remains in a parlous state beset by high costs, and Bell is forced to scale back his ambitions for crop-growing while continuing to breed cattle and horses. But perhaps the greatest upheaval the book describes is the tale of how he ‘wearied of solitude and married a wife.’
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