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26 Reviews
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a fine book on an unknown but remarkable person
It is good that the achievement of Sarah Losh, landowner near Carlisle and amateur architect, should at last have been recognised in this fine book. St Mary's, Wreay is one of the very few churches to have been designed by a woman. Not only that, but its form is very unusual in this country, a small Lombardic cell with a wonderful apse. And all over it there is nature...
Published 23 months ago by Stephen

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars It is a very interesting story but I found that ...
It is a very interesting story but I found that there was far too much trivial detail and the main part of the story about the design and building of the church didn't start until more than halfway through the book
Published 1 month ago by Squirrel


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4.0 out of 5 stars A very interesting read, 18 Jan 2014
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This review is from: The Pinecone (Kindle Edition)
A really fascinating book, well researched. Revealing some interesting findings on the role of women artists and architects in the 19th century.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Brings to life a great female nineteenth century female architect and philanthropist, 11 Jan 2014
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This review is from: The Pinecone (Paperback)
Sarah Lush was an independent nineteenth century woman who used her inherited wealth the design and build in Cumbria. The Pinecone brings her and the society in which she lived between Penrith and Newcastle to life. Better illustration would have improved my understanding of the buildings but I am inspired to go and see them for myself.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but flawed, 6 Dec 2013
This review is from: The Pinecone (Paperback)
I've been a fan of Jenny Uglow's for some while, but this book was a little disappointing. Here are a few reasons:

The book has clearly been researched in depth, but it lacks focus. It claims to be the story of Sarah Losh, yet as other reviewers have commented it is at least as much about her family - a very interesting family, which would merit a book in its own right. Also, every time the narrative drifts off into the family archives, it accumulates a clutter of miscellaneous and distracting trivia which should have been sifted out.

The sub-title is "The story of Sarah Losh, Romantic heroine, architect and visionary". Romantic heroine - eh? SL appears to have been a good and distinguished person, but there is nothing, absolutely nothing in this book to substantiate the word "heroine". That's just plain misleading language. I'll bet it helps sell more copies, though.

The writing is also sometimes uncharacteristically careless. A couple of random examples: on p 193 there is the ugly sentence, "This would hurt Sarah, being such a careful gardener herself"; and in pp 281-3 there is a cataphoric shift from 1884 to "this century" which I think will catch most readers off-balance.

Overall, then, the book gives the impression of having started from an unclear brief, and of the raw material having been bundled together in some haste.

If that sounds over-critical, I should also say that I couldn't put the book down, that I would still recommend it with reservations, that it revived my interest in a fascinating period of our past, that I'll visit the church at Wreay just as soon as I can.

LATER: I visited the church, twice - what a wonderful place.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written but I was disappointed in the book overall, 25 July 2014
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This review is from: The Pinecone (Paperback)
Beautifully written but I was disappointed in the book overall. The book is set in an area I do not know. I am a great fan of Jenny Uglow's work, so pity I did not enjoy this, her latest book.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!, 14 Dec 2012
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This review is from: The Pinecone (Hardcover)
A fascinating account of an interesting and inspired life. The book is so well written. I heartily recommend it. Wreay Church is one of the best places to visit, and this book gives one the full background of its creator.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Disappointing but Instructive Read, 13 Aug 2013
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Mrs. Judith A H Keenlyside (Bridgwater, Somerset, GB) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Pinecone (Kindle Edition)
One is led to believe that this book is about the woman who designed this extraordinary church, and to an extent it is, but one has to wade through a great deal on her extended family and the local families which did not interest me. but I can see that just writing about the buildings would not have made a book so there had to be the family stuff, but i did wish there was a lot less. However Jenny Uglow writes well and is very knowledgeable. The church, the building of it ,& the other buildings are very well described and I intend to visit it this autumn.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Pinecone, 25 Dec 2012
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This review is from: The Pinecone (Hardcover)
A fascinating account of a 19thCpolymath. I felt the source material must have been slight and needed padding with 19thC socia land economic history to make the present volume.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jenny Uglow at her very best, 26 Sep 2013
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The Cats' Mother (Hampshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Pinecone (Kindle Edition)
I loved this book. It tells the story of Sarah Losh who designed and had built St Mary's Church in Wreay, Cumbria in the 1840's. Sarah was a remarkable woman in any age, wealthy in her own right and a product of the Enlightenment and the Grand Tour with a passionate interest in all things literary, artistic, cultural and scientific. The church is well worth a visit (went there two weeks ago as a direct result of reading this book). The pinecone is symbolic of her passion for nature, fertility and there are huge stone carvings inside and outside the church, as well as depictions in the wooden carvings inside and outside the property. Stone carving abounds - look out for the happy bat on one of the columns in the apse. The book brings the life and contextual times of this remarkable woman vividly to life. Can't recommend it too highly.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Historical biography, 17 Sep 2013
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This review is from: The Pinecone (Hardcover)
Jenny Uglow is always very readable and in this instance has picked a fairly unknown character of real interest and hisorical relevance to the North East.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unusual and surprising, 18 Jun 2013
This review is from: The Pinecone (Hardcover)
A gem of a book and one to be savored. Jenny Uglow takes the reader deep into the family and community of Sarah Losh and uncovers the creativity of this now almost forgotten women. The book feels like a labour of love and is beautifully produced.
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The Pinecone
The Pinecone by Jenny Uglow (Hardcover - 6 Sep 2012)
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