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Precious Bane (Four Square Books. no. 56.) [Unknown Binding]

Gladys Mary Webb
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

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  • Unknown Binding
  • ASIN: B0018H2GEW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

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IT was at a love-spinning that I saw Kester first. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
Precious Bane is a classic of historical literature written by the comparatively unknown author Mary Webb. Published in 1924 but set in her native Shropshire 100 years earlier, the story of Precious Bane has the scope, power, insight and plot of anything by Thomas Hardy, George Elliot, or the Brontes. Written in a rather quaint ( and easy to read ) dialect it tells the story of a young farm girl who was born with a hare lip. The strongly conceived plot is supported by some of the finest descriptions of period rural life ever. The running of a mixed farm, the market, the hiring fair, bull-baiting, the customs, the characters, the hierarchy and the countryside birds, flowers and dragonflies are weaved together into a heart-rending love story. No wonder the then Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin ( 1928 ) was moved to write an introduction to the book.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliantly sensitive book for everyone. 10 Mar 1999
By A Customer
Precious Bane has been my constant companion since the age of 13. Over the past 27 years I have read it many, many times, sometimes just opening the book to any page, haphazard fashion, and getting completely emersed in the beauty of the language that captures the true essence of English country life in the early twentieth century. The story is told from the perspective of a young woman who is very sensitive to the changes of mood of both Nature and Man. There are words of wisdom in every page and lessons of life to be learnt from every situation and character in the book. A remarkable book that cannot be be praised enough.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Far better than Hardy 10 Aug 2009
I picked this book up on a whim, with very dim memories of the BCC TV production starring Janet McTeer (I think)and was completely knocked off by feet by reading it. I think it is one of the best novels I have ever read- Webb creates a new world and peoples it with sometimes bizarre but always believable characters, who work towards their inevitable fate. The descriptions are almost ornate, but never seem contrived or forced. Pru Sarn must be a unique heroine.
I was angry after reading this book. Why? I had no idea how good the book would be and wondered why no-one had told me about it before. Having had to chug through the "joys" of Thomas Hardy, in particular "Jude the Obscure" (surely one of the worst "great novels" ever), at university, I wondered by we had no mention of a writer who can evoke rural life with its tragedies and glories far better than the flag boy for the Dorset Tourist Board.
If you are even slightly interested, then please, please give this a go.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favourite books 14 Jan 2009
By Alun Williams VINE VOICE
This book has been one of my favourites for about 25 years, ever since I bought it almost at random, and then read it on a long train journey through France. It is one of the very few books I reread regularly, and my pleasure in it never lessens.

I won't repeat what the other reviewers to give this book 5 stars have said, which I think gives a good idea of how much most readers will feel about this book, but just tell you that a few months ago I, somewhat diffidently, recommended it to a book group I am a member of, half afraid that some people would find its old-fashioned plot and rural dialect a little ridiculous. Instead, every member of the group loved it, and it is the only book ever to get a 5 star rating from everyone.

I have read all Mary Webb's novels, and this is by far her best work, and sadly the only one I can recommend whole-heartedly, though "Gone to Earth" is also well worth reading - especially for anyone interested in feminism or the history of attitudes towards sexuality. Seven for a Secret is a good tale, The Golden Arrow not quite so good. The House in Dormer Forest is quite unlike her other completed novels, and is sometimes supposed to have inspired "Cold Comfort Farm", although it is quite satirical enough itself. But all these other books are marred to some extent by third person narrative, which unfortunately allows Mary Webb herself to become an at times intrusive and preachy presence. Precious Bane, with its first person narration, by one of the most endearing heroines ever to grace an English novel, is perfect.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars review of precious bane by mother of two 6 April 2003
By A Customer
Precious Bane is a passionate book where nature is immensly powerful and human spirit is inspiring.I have re-read it many times and consider Pru to be a thrilling if unconventional heroine. She is good in every sense and the reader feels every one of her emotions. The life she leads is extraordinary, dictated by nature and superstition. Her isolation would make most of us weep,but Pru's truly strong character survives and thrives. The triumph of her love for the weaver makes my heart sing.This book is a joy and the perfect antidote to the american best seller.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MARY WEBB'S MASTERPIECE 29 April 2008
Mary webb only wrote 6 novels in her short, tragic life. And with one of these , she died before completion. Each novel is magical and has something to offer to the discerning reader. Precious Bane is her masterpiece, though Gone to Earth is not far behind. A lot has already been said about this book and the characters. Mary Webb had an amazing feel for nature and her descriptive writing is stunningly beautiful. The heroine of this novel, Prudence Sarn is really Mary Webb in many ways.She had grave's diesease from a very young age. The frequent bouts grew worse as she grew older and her appearance ( mainly her large eyes, very bulging ) led her to experience a lot of the sad reactions and hostility that Pru Sarn does.Poor Mary Webb, a superb, delicate novelist and a wonderful poet who had so much talent to offer. The very sad thing is that her novels and poetry never sold well until after her death at 46.just before she died , the then Prime minister Stanley Baldwin publicly acclaimed Precious Bane, soon after this she died, then her works became huge sellers, reprinted many times. Gone To earth was filmed beautifully with Jennifer Jones and all location work was in Mary's beloved Shropshire.Of course the film , despite being magical never really captured the complete novel.But to see it enables the reader / viewer to see the county Mary loved.Precious Bane is set in the Shropshire of the past, the county that Mary set all her novels in. Precious Bane is a wonderful, evocative piece of writing. No one wrote like Mary, no one could capture the descriptive powers she had. Read all her works, her books are available and second hand copies can be found pretty cheap. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Beautifully written and moving.
Published 2 days ago by J. Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars Precious indeed.
A hauntingly beautiful story of a young woman whose inner spirit grows to overcome her disadvantaged circumstances. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Maisie's Mum
5.0 out of 5 stars An absorbing read
One of my favourite books and tells the love story between Prue and the Weaver and is enchanting without being sentimental. Read more
Published 3 months ago by susanna
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful classic
This is a book I read years ago after the television drama was on the BBC. I really enjoyed reading it again, the language and descriptions are wonderful, and the love story is... Read more
Published 4 months ago by alisonr
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gorgeous Read
Iabsolutely love this book,i can never get bored of this tale,i get totally immersed in it every time,i just love the feel and time of place,the way she describes the countryside... Read more
Published 4 months ago by claire jones
5.0 out of 5 stars a treasure
A book to keep forever! Why did it take until I was 70 to find it? Now I shall keep it by my bedside to read in those sleepless hours.
Published 5 months ago by Mrs Jennifer Ann turner
5.0 out of 5 stars Shropshire Star!
The book was in pretty much pristine book-store condition when it arrived this morning thank you! It's evident that this seller is as good as their word. Read more
Published 9 months ago by JIMMY STANLEY
5.0 out of 5 stars It has a happy ending
I loved this book years ago and decided to read it again, and wasn't disappointed. Unlike some of Mary Webb's other books, it has a happy ending. Read more
Published 14 months ago by linda hinton
5.0 out of 5 stars This is my Desert Island book
This is without doubt the best book I've read for ......ever! Prue tells such a lovely story and the terms she uses are just wonderful. Just read it .... It's fab!
Published 16 months ago by Fi
5.0 out of 5 stars It is compelling draws you in.
I read it twice in quick succession a thing I rarely do. The character of Prue Sarn has no malice and is very non judgmental. Read more
Published 16 months ago by mrs s riley
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