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Modern Classics Lark Rise To Candleford A Trilogy [Paperback]

Flora Thompson , H J Massingham
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Dec 23 2008 Penguin Modern Classics
Flora Thompson's immortal trilogy, containing "Lark Rise", "Over To Candleford" and "Candleford Green", is a heartwarming portrayal of country life at the close of the 19th century. This story of three closely related Oxfordshire communities - a hamlet, the nearby village and a small market town - is based on the author's experiences during childhood and youth. It chronicles May Day celebrations and forgotten children's games, the daily lives of farmworkers and craftsmen, friends and relations - all painted with a gaiety and freshness of observation that make this trilogy an evocative and sensitive memorial to Victorian rural England. It comes with a new introduction by Richard Mabey.

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About the Author

Born in Juniper Hill, Oxfordshire, Flora Thompson left school at 14 to work in the local post office. She married young, and wrote mass-market fiction to help support her increasing family. In her 60s she published the semi-autobiographical trilogy combined as LARK RISE TO CANDLEFORD (1945). RICHARD MABEY is the author of some thirty books, including Whistling in the Dark: In Pursuit of the Nightingale, Beechcombings: the narratives of Trees, the ground-breaking and best-selling "cultural flora" Flora Britannica, and Gilbert White, which won the Whitbread Biography Award. His recent memoir Nature Cure was short-listed for three major literary awards. He writes for the Independent, the Guardian, Resurgence and Granta, and contributes frequently to BBC radio. He lives in Norfolk, in the Waveney Valley.

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The hamlet stood on a gentle rise in the flat, wheat-growing north-east corner of Oxfordshire. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent appreciation of the "old" ways Dec 26 1997
This trilogy was one I read many years ago and only returned to recently. On this reading it was an even better - recalling in detail a life which has totally gone now but has a wonder and joy in it which we can no longer experience. On having her fortune told - the main character was told she would be loved by people she had never met - for once astrology worked. An excellent piece of literature.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More, more I want more! Jan. 29 2010
What a gem! this is a wonderful book, a close up of village life. The characters are wonderfully described and seem to breathe. No wonder it was made into a mini-series.
Read it. You will certainly enjoy it.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not a favourite Jan. 27 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed the television series. I found this book to be a heavy read. It was difficult to follow - more of a story telling than a novel that keeps you turning pages. I rarely put a book down unfinished. This was one of those books.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A trip into my grandmother's world Aug. 13 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Those of us who were blessed to sit and hear tales that started with "when I was young" again have the chance to recall those stories. It will be a most selfish trip only because the heart holds close what it knows to be true, at least for me.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A chronicle of a Victorian microcosm Dec 7 2010
By S Svendsen TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The setting is rural Oxfordshire, England, in the 1880s and 90s, written half a century later. Although it is an autobiographical account of the author's childhood and youth--she being Laura, rather than Flora--it is written in third-person. However, other than a few remarks comparing later events and conditions with the time period being chronicled, the narrative is not that of a mature adult reminiscing about the past. Instead, the story is told with the innocence of a young child, largely dispassionate and somewhat devoid of emotion. Although Laura is the central character, the narrator is more akin to an academic observer than a participant, but taking care to be true to mirror childlike thoughts, reactions and expectations. Facts are frankly stated without much judgmental moralizing or a cultivated perspective.

Thompson was a natural history devotee and the book reflects this proclivity in lengthy and detailed descriptions of flora and fauna. Above all this is a documentary work. Depending on the reader it can be judged as either a fascinatingly comprehensive account of minutiae from this time period in rural England, or a dreary and long-drawn-out collection of sociological and botanical trivia. There is scant dialogue or drama and no suspenseful anticipation of any kind. This is a masterful work for students of rural life in late Victorian England, but for others it may be a lot of reading (over 500 pages) to glean a few tidbits of childhood impressions and working class habits and mentality from days of yore. Yes, it does contain multiple gems and treasures to savour but be forewarned that this trilogy is not a work to be compared with the novels of Austen, Dickens or Hardy.
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