Mary Robson is a young married woman who has been working for years to save her family farm, Anderby Wold. She even married John, her much older husband, whose hard work has kept it going these past years. She is a managing woman who thinks it is her duty to oversee the welfare of the village, making herself disliked by many. Because of her preoccupations, she seems much older than she actually is.
One day she encounters David Rossiter, a young radical journalist who disagrees with everything Mary believes in. David is trying to get farm workers interested in unionizing, and Mary becomes unsuitably obsessed with the younger man. The schoolmaster, Coast, becomes involved in the unionization issue expressly to make trouble for Mary, whom he detests.
Anderby Wold is an interesting slice of Yorkshire life in the 1920’s. It reflects the issues of the times, when farmers were facing increased demand for workers’ rights. Another of Winifred Holtby’s consistent themes that appears here is getting on with life after the death of a loved one. This novel is Holtby’s first, and its realistic depictions of village life of the times reflect her background as a journalist.