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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Year Less Ordinary
My attention was caught by the cover of this book in the window of a local shop, and I had to buy it! Fiona J. Houston, aka 'The History Woman' took a year out of her writing/working life to step back into the 1790's and live as the wife of a schoolmaster would have lived, growing her own food, making her bannocks and porridge, living with none of the 'essentials' we...
Published on 5 April 2009 by B. Scott

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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading but slightly dissappointing
Based on the strength of the reviews I purchased this book. It is a lovely product, pretty with good quality pages - ideal for a gift. I started reading and was instantly hooked, caught up in her knowledge of the past and loved the little snippets of extra information on most pages. Unfortunately before I was even halfway through I began to get irritated by her choices...
Published on 12 May 2010 by stola peridot


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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb evocation!, 16 Nov 2009
By 
The Garden Cottage Diaries offers a superb evocation of what it was like to live and maintain a small household on a day-to-day, month-by-month, and seasonal basis in eighteenth century rural Scotland. Every aspect is firmly grounded in historical scholarship - lightly, indeed, delightfully worm. But neither its appeal nor its application - in terms of the insight and understanding that it offers, and offers aplenty - are restricted or parochial. I suspect that the world that is opened up applies far more widely to our understanding of life in similar circumstances throughout Britain in the latter half of the eighteenth century. The Garden Cottage Diaries is a pleasure to read and to learn from.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Hard times?, 19 May 2014
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This review is from: The Garden Cottage Diaries: My Year in the Eighteenth Century (Kindle Edition)
What, for some, might sound like an idyllic way of life soon shows it's 'dark' side! I like the sound of this lifestyle in principle but it does sound like a hard existence! Well done Fiona for giving it a bash. I'm sure you can be forgiven for the odd moment of weakness!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 18 April 2014
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This review is from: The Garden Cottage Diaries: My Year in the Eighteenth Century (Kindle Edition)
I really loved this book. Do not buy it on kindle. I did and thought it was OK. I then bought the book for a gift and realised what I had missed with the beautiful coloured photos spread out through the book. I bought another copy for myself.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading but slightly dissappointing, 12 May 2010
Based on the strength of the reviews I purchased this book. It is a lovely product, pretty with good quality pages - ideal for a gift. I started reading and was instantly hooked, caught up in her knowledge of the past and loved the little snippets of extra information on most pages. Unfortunately before I was even halfway through I began to get irritated by her choices. The idea is that she was to live a whole year in the eighteenth century. This was self funded and was not always entirely authentic, such as the compromise she made with her stove. But holding her head high she openly admits to all cheats... and here lies my problem with the book. After a while it felt as if the book had morphed from an interesting read about her journey through the year to a diary of every time she broke her own self imposed rules.

I think it is hard for us not to romantisize the past and she shows clearly that life was hard work and her occassional struggles to be authentic to the era are perfectly understandable. But I found myself becoming more judgmental as I got closer to the end of the book.

It is a lovely read and I would recommend it, but having admired her for this then finding that she made the choice to step out of her role daily just to walk her dog (modern clothes) meant that I was constantly questionning how immersed in her eighteenth century life she truly was.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the past relived!, 12 Mar 2013
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This review is from: The Garden Cottage Diaries: My Year in the Eighteenth Century (Kindle Edition)
I chose this because I was amazed that anyone would want to live in the !8th century! I loved every bit of it! I couldn't do what Fiona Houston and admire her, but most of all I loved reading about her daily life as well as learning about food in the past!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read, 6 Feb 2013
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This review is from: The Garden Cottage Diaries: My Year in the Eighteenth Century (Kindle Edition)
I load things on to my kindle to read on the way to work and can honestly say I could not put this one down.Facinating stuff!
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fabulous, 13 Sep 2009
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Borrowed the book originally from the local library and wanted it for keeps so bought it. facinating, always good for future reference as it's packed full of interest.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining ..., 14 Jan 2013
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F. Thompson (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Garden Cottage Diaries: My Year in the Eighteenth Century (Kindle Edition)
Some quite fascinating episodes but I felt that the author's mind was not fully on the task she set herself. Having said that it would have been nigh on impossible to fully live in an eighteenth century way for a twelvemonth with family concerns to the fore. A good enough read for a 99p download.
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars a big letdown, 15 Mar 2013
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This would have been alot more credible if the "cottage" wasn't so near her home. There was too much cheating for my liking & how can we be sure the only cheats were the ones she admitted to - maybe I'm just a cynic. If you say you are going to live for a year in the late 1700's, then thats what you have to do, otherwise whats the point? The whole thing was futile in my opinion.
Also like alot of Guardian readers/writers, there has to be a "lecture" or in this case several. Not a book I would wish to keep or read again, so like my copy's predecessor who sold it on, I shall be giving it to the local charity shop. All in all very disappointing.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Ok......, 13 Jan 2013
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This review is from: The Garden Cottage Diaries: My Year in the Eighteenth Century (Kindle Edition)
Book was very short and not particularly interesting. Could have been far more instructive and illustrative. In fact, I was rather taken aback when it just ended......
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