All Things Bright and Beautiful by James Herriot

All Things Bright and Beautiful


Goodreads: All Things Bright and Beautiful
Series: All Creatures Great and Small #2
Age Category: Adult
Source: Library
Published: 1974


The second volume of James Herriot’s account of life as a vet in the Yorkshire Dales brings new experiences and new characters. Herriot is recently married, and enjoying it. However, his customers–both human and animal–continue to surprise and delight!

Star Divider


James Herriot brings his signature charm and gentle humor to this second volume of stories collecting his experiences as a veterinarian in the Yorkshire Dales. Recently married, he adds some stories about the bliss of married life. But the focus remains on his four-legged patients and the humans who own them–and the humans often prove the most difficult to work with! Readers who adored All Creatures Great and Small will rejoice to find that the story continues.

In many respects, All Things Bright and Beautiful captures the same elements that make the first volume so special. Herriot treats all his subjects with sympathy, so that even rude and ungrateful customers come across as a part of a bemused observation on the eccentricities of human beings. Herriot himself is always the joke, and never the people who put him through such trials.

Still, at times, I found myself that Herriot were not always presenting himself as the hapless victim of circumstance. For instance, three times he gets drunk at the hands of the hospital vet, becomes ill, and embarrasses himself in company. Herriot always writes as if he just could not help it–he had to drink all that alcohol to prevent offending his friend. After awhile, however this particular storyline was not amusing. I really wanted to shout, “Just say no!” at Herriot, and tell him he is not obligated to make himself ill to make his friend feel good.

I also found myself wishing for more stories of Siegfried and Tristan. Tristan does get a rollicking storyline involving the appearance of a local ghost. Otherwise, however, he is relegated to chief supporter of Herriot’s attempts to court Helen. (The book goes back and forth in time, so it covers both Herriot’s current marriage and his past dating experiences.) Siegfried, too, is notably absent, which is a shame since his larger-than-life personality added a great deal to the humor of the first volume. Helen gains more prominence instead. But, as Herriot always portrays Helen as kind, loving, and generous, she is not exactly as interesting as the unhinged Siegfried, even if she does sound like a wonderful person to know.

Altogether, however, All Things Bright and Beautiful is a charming and cozy read, the type of book one wants to open when the world seems harsh. It is full with a great joy in life and a great love for humanity, the type that seems absolutely contagious.

4 stars

8 thoughts on “All Things Bright and Beautiful by James Herriot

    • Krysta says:

      Tristan and the ghost is an epic story, however, and totally worth reading the book for!

      I am now on the third book and so far Herriot is in the RAF, so definitely no Siegfried or Tristan yet. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

    • Krysta says:

      Herriot’s work always makes me feel cozy! It’s nice to read when you’re having a bad day! (And remember that you are not being kicked by a cow in the middle of a freezing barn, lol!)

      Liked by 1 person

  1. A vintage Dutchman says:

    I loved those books! An Irish Country Doctor by Patrick Taylor has a similar atmosphere, but it’s a GP instead of a veterinarian the books are about. James Herriot books are always a joy to read!


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