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Lark Rise to Candleford: A Trilogy (Penguin Modern Classics) [Paperback]

Flora Thompson , Richard Mabey
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
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Book Description

4 Dec 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.

With a new introduction by Richard Mabey

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Product details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (4 Dec 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141183314
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141183312
  • Product Dimensions: 2.3 x 12.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 71,862 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


This gorgeous gift edition of the classic...will be treasured by a new generation of readers. Family History Monthly --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
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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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
77 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Returning to my own past 25 July 2003
By KitChat
I first read this gem as a set book in school at around age 14, a London-born child educated in the City. The details of it never left me, 'Laura's' description of hamlet life in the 1880's were my benchmark for how poor honest country folk lived in those days, I could always refer to my recollections of the book, I was fascinated by the facts.
I finished re-reading it tonight, 37 years later and am still enchanted by the writer's simple and straightforward style and the vivid descriptions with such attention to detail. It's never fussy or sentimentalised, the reader comes to their own conclusion that material wealth isn't the secret to happiness, which is humbling when we compare today's standards with those of these simple people. Laura does well for herself, and the reader is glad for her but she never loses sight of who she is deep down.
I shall recommend that my young neice reads it, I doubt she'll enjoy it as I did but if only a little of the good natured common sense of the people is recognised that will be a good thing for a child brought up these days to know about. Am I really getting that old-fashioned?
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46 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautful book about a 'beautiful time' 9 Feb 2004
Life was hard in those days but it was beautiful: well it is nice to think it was anyhow.
A lovely book that wanders reminising through the author's childhood, told with the clarity as if it had all just happened yesterday. Captivatingly written and extremely evocative.
A 'must read' book: close your eyes and dream what English rural life used to be like.
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94 of 96 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This is the beautiful tale of Flora Thompson's life from childhood to adolecence in Victorian Oxfordshire. In the book she changes place names and describes event from the character of "Laura". They live in a small hamlet, in a farming community; and the detail of the people and little day to day things is fascinating. The people she describes are so complete... and throughout she tells us so much of her thoughts, emotions and fears, that you feel as if you have met her yourself. From a social history point of view, her descriptions of festivals and rural life, are invaluble. This is a long book, and a little slow in parts, but it is rich and worth reading. You will really be drawn to her character, and feel her highs and lows. It's not as bouncy and amusing as "Cider with Rosie", but it is poignant for its bare honesty. You will wipe away a tear or two whilst reading it, and I promise you won't forget it.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Out of the Ordinary 28 May 2002
By Nhaka
This book is a wonderful read from beginning to end. The author wrote a book of great beauty about the places and people of her childhood and early adult years. Her discriptions of both are interesting and written with a love for the world she knew. If you are interested in social history then this is an excellent read. Even those with no real interest in such will find it entertaining and a superb read. One of those books you read slowly.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning ! 17 July 2005
By A Customer
This trilogy is just stunning. I didn't want it to end, it's one of those books you savour, and you want it to go on forever. It's one of my all time favourites. I also warmly recommend the stories of Joan Kent, she is in the same league as Flora Thompson. Her "Haywains & Cherry Ale" and "Lamplight on Cottage Loaves" are wonderful, and they relieve any Flora Thompson withdrawal symptoms once you finish 'Lark Rise to Candleford'.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This we will not see again. 13 Dec 1999
By A Customer
From a small village in the northeast corner of Oxfordshire,England,comes a small masterpiece from the pen of one who knew the area intimately,who,in fact,was raised there.Flora Jane Thompson nee Timms who names herself Laura Timms in this trilogy brings the characters of Lark Rise(actually called Juniper Hill) to life,from Old Queenie to slack witted Twister and later on,Laura's (Flora) Uncle Tom and the inimitable Dorcas Lane.A way of life that is now long gone and was infact dying at the time Flora Thompson writes of.I do find it hard to be unbiased about this book,for one very good reason,Lark Rise To Candleford by Flora Thompson is my all time favourite book,and yes.that DOES include Shakespeare!
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just Remember - This Is Really A History Book! 4 May 2008
By Scots Lass TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Fans of the BBC adaptation should give this a wide berth if they are expecting witty tales of honest farm folks told in the style of Catherine Cookson. There is virtually NO DIALOGUE within the stories.

For example, the Pratt Sisters whose ludicrous antics and matching outfits took up so much of the BBC series, have little more than one page in the whole of this book! Miss Lane and her post office does not appear until the final 3rd of the compilation. There is no forbidden romance with the local Squire or any tension between him and his wife. Dawn French's larger than life Caroline gets one chapter on a page!

Instead, this is a glorious peek at the history of rural England, a wonderful read packed with information about the housing, social scene, class system, rural customs and some stories of local people. But it is not anything like the television series and those hoping it will be as accessible are in for a disappointment - in fact 2 friends who were eager to read it both gave it back after failing to get engrossed in what they hoped would be a bumper work of fiction.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
I am only on chapter 10, but am so engrossed that I can't wait to read more. I am an avid family tree historian and have agricultural labourers in my tree, although they are from Wiltshire. This book describes what life could have been like for them and in a way brings them more to life. Flora Thomsons writing style is interesting and extremely descriptive and also easy to read. I would recomend anyone with ag. labs. in their family tree to give it a try. It may open their eyes to the grinding poverty of the lower orders of rural life but also a more sinple way of life.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars annebar
Lovely book, well written. Didn't expect it to be like the TV series, so wasn't disappointed. Gives an accurate picture of working class life in the 1890's. Read more
Published 1 month ago by annebar
5.0 out of 5 stars A quiet, modest and wonderful book
I never watched the TV series of the same name so I came to this book without many preconceived ideas. Read more
Published 2 months ago by scrummymummy
5.0 out of 5 stars In a class of its own
This book has no plot worth mentioning. In the early stages, it's loosely focused--no more than a collection of anecdotes, and you only gradually realise that 'Laura' is in fact... Read more
Published 3 months ago by T. Burkard
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing like the tv series.
I enjoyed this triology of Laura's life in the 1890's English hamlet of Lark Rise and her starting her life at the post office at Candelford. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jan Bennett
3.0 out of 5 stars wishy washy
well read but voice lacks variety of tone. Disappointed as I was expecting more. The recording lacks energy and enthusiasm. Its a great story but the reader sounds bored. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Mrs. Irene Booth
5.0 out of 5 stars Lark Rise to Candleford (hardback)
This is an excellent book to read from several perspectives ... well written, interesting throughout and an excellent document of life in the English countryside at that time. Read more
Published 8 months ago by george
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply wonderful
Although it might be somewhat fictionalised, this is above all a memoir of a lost time. Flora Thompson not only remembered in great detail the lost world of her childhood in a... Read more
Published 8 months ago by GeordieReader
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my wife's favourite books
My wife's copy was becoming tattered and I suggested that I find one on the internet to replace it. She is delighted with the pristine copy that we received and has added it to her... Read more
Published 10 months ago by jontysher
5.0 out of 5 stars summer reading
this is my booo anyonek to read this summer I have read a bit it is an excellent book and i would recommend this to anyone and everyone.
Published 11 months ago by Trudi Mayo
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific
Brought as a gift, my friend thrilled.
Like most books made into film/tv productions - wise to read book in advance of viewing.
Published 16 months ago by Heather MACKNEY
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