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Written by Connie Skibinski
James Herriot is the protagonist of the story. Herriot moved from Scotland to the Yorkshire Dales, where he became a country veterinarian. Though he is new to the country environment of Darrowby, he quickly adjusts to the new lifestyle. Herriot is optimistic and good natured, as well as hard working and resilient. He is grateful for his career and is not driven by monetary gain, rather, he has a genuine connection with and love of animals. He is also greatly inspired by the natural landscape around him, which he thinks is much more beautiful than a city office. Herriot is also empathetic and will go to great lengths to help customers that are struggling financially due to the Great Depression.
Siegfried Farnon owns the veterinary practice in Darrowby. He is eccentric and bizarre, but also extremely generous and kind-hearted. He can be hot-tempered, especially when triggered by his younger brother Tristan, but is quick to forgive. He also has great respect for his clients and displays many qualities of a gentleman. He generously provided Herriot with a job, and continues to support and encourage him throughout his work.
Though he is Siegfried’s younger brother, the two are very different and often clash. Tristan is extremely mischievous, with little forethought of the consequences of his actions. Though never malicious, Tristan is caught up in enjoying life and pulling pranks, often with comic and disastrous results. Tristan has failed his veterinary exams, but continues to study in the hope of pulling through. Tristan and James become close as they spend time looking after animals together.
Mrs Hall is the house-keeper at Skeldale House. Though she is strict, she has a strong maternal affection for Tristan, Siegfried and James. Mrs Hall is a reliable cleaner but a terrible cook. Overall, Mrs Hall is a reliable and organised figure who has a paramount role in maintaining Skeldale House.
Mrs Pumphrey is a recurring character who is extremely eccentric and kind-hearted. Old and wealthy, her life centres around her pet Pekingese called Tricki-Woo. She treats her dog much like a human, and expects others to do so. She lovingly spoils her dog with extravagant food and affection. Mrs Pumphrey has great respect and admiration for James Herriot and often gives him many expensive gifts to say thank you when he helps her dog.
Helen Alderson is James Herriot’s love interest, and they eventually marry. She is described as beautiful, patient and likeable. She is also very domestic and practical and is happy to help around the house and make tea for guests. In many ways, Helen is a typical woman of the era. A large portion of the book is devoted to Herriot’s attempts to woo Helen. Helen and James have great chemistry and she is extremely supportive of his decision to be a vet, even when it gets in the way of their relationship.
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