Thursday, March 26, 2020

Gentle Reading of Long Ago Times: Lark Rise to Candleford by Flora Thompson

Lark Rise to Candleford: A TrilogyLark Rise to Candleford: A Trilogy by Flora Thompson

My daughter, Hannah, is reading my copy of this book and I realized it is perfect gentle reading for troubled times. I was, therefore, delighted to see there is a Kindle version for only $2.99. Now I will be occasionally dipping into this soothing, fascinating look at bygone days. 

My original review is below.

This is probably my third time reading this trilogy. I used to keep it in my desk at work for lunchtime reading when there was no one else in the break room.

These three books are chronicles of small village, larger village, and small town life in rural England in the late 1800s. Told with fictionalized names this is nonetheless acknowledged to be a good record of what life was really like back then, from the farming/working class point of view. As such, Thompson didn't populate it with a main story line but centered it on one family (her own, one presumes) and then told all she had observed growing up. We see working habits, tavern stories and songs, pig killing day, and much more. In a sense, I suppose one could call it "Little House" stories for grown ups - set in Britain.

The rhythm of life gently washes over the reader and, if one isn't too worried about driving storylines as I mentioned, then there is a great reward in these books. They are perfect for unforced reading whenever one has a chance.

I was unaware that there was a television series based on these until reading some of the other GoodReads reviews. No wonder many of them were slightly disappointed. There would have to be a great deal of "reading into" to get storylines for the Lark Rise village setting. I've also seen a variety of rather judgmental reviews commenting on sexism, politics, and so forth. Those entirely miss the point of history, for one thing, and of these books, for another.

Here is an excellent overall review of the book for anyone who'd like an overview.

1 comment:

  1. It’s a favorite of mine. I need to dust it off and read it again. Thanks for reminding us that not all periods in history can be measured by our yardstick.