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on 26 May 2007
This is a superb book. I borrowed it from the library and am now just about to buy it, I know I'll read it again and again. I feel like I've just stepped back in time and met some fascinating people. Not just Beatrix but many of her friends and those who have influenced her described in detail and are interesting in themselves. The appendix showing the reasearch is huge and also a good read, so much so that I intend to read about the work of others.

To know Beatrix's later life is also to know the origins of the National Trust and the conservation movement and that is also another component of this fascinating woman's life detailed in this book.

I could hardly put this book down once I'd started it. It's easy to read and an excellent introduction to a fascinating person, her friends and activities. Highly recommended.
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If I was to try to explain why I love Beatrix Potter's books so much, I would have to say it is the attention to detail - the simply beautiful precision of the anthropomorphic drawings, the "truth" in the animals' characterisations which whilst whimsical are by no means idealistic and show nature to have a hard edge, the economy of the prose, each phrase carefully chosen to propel the story forward at the correct pace - and of course the humour.

Well, Linda Lear manages to emulate her subject - the accompanying photographs not only give us Beatrix's drawings of her pets and woodland fungi but also courtesy of her father's keen interest in photography, portraits of the young Beatrix of astounding quality. What can't be done in such a rich life is do it justice in anything less than the 450 pages of text and 75 pages of references - but stick with it, it tells of a curiously compartmented life - through a cosseted childhood which unfortunately becomes stifling to the highly intelligent young woman - the almost accidental emergence of the author of hugely successful children's books - and finally personal and intellectual fulfilment through a late marriage, a passion for hill farming, and her other lasting legacy, the conservation of the landscape of her adopted home, the Lake District. Can't recommend this book too highly.
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on 18 January 2008
I borrowed this book as soon as it appeared in the library and have rarely enjoyed a biography so much. Although I knew that she had been very influential in conservation in the Lake District I had no idea what an amazing woman she was. The recent film starring Renee Zellweger, which I thoroughly enjoyed, seemed with hindsight to trivialise her achievements, though I suppose it had to concentrate on her books, these being the best-known aspect of her life. This very well researched book fills in all the gaps, shows what a fine botanist she became, with only her status as an amateur and a woman preventing her from being better thought of in professional circles. She was a ground-breaker in the study of fungi and an excellent botanical artist. I hope that this book will serve to tell the world at large of the real Beatrix Potter.
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on 27 April 2017
Great book and worth getting for any lover of Beatrix Potter.
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on 28 April 2017
excellent
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on 30 May 2007
Dr. Lear has written an amazing biography of a fascinating woman. Ms, Potter was an early feminist and conservationist, and this engrossing biography with its evocative descriptions of the Lake District made me want to visit this extroadinary country. I recommend this book unreservedly to anyone interested in nature, feminism and the English countryside.
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on 31 January 2017
Never think of Beatrix Potter as a frivolous lightweight. She was more than simply the author of children's tales, such as Peter Rabbit. From earliest childhood, she was unusually observant and had a great love of nature. Something her mother couldn't abide. Beatrix's room was filled with collections of wild things, including the living. She studied nature and drew it with great understanding. To this day, her drawings of mushrooms remain the best in scientific illustration.

Ever the dutiful daughter, she served her parents and allowed them to rule her life until she finally married late and became Mrs. Heelis. She earned a good living from her art and writing, enough to buy land and take up farming. Her sheep won prizes. A devout conservationist, she continued to buy great tracts of land to put in public trust.

Lear covers Potter's life in depth, with both tedious and fascinating detail. I came away, loving her drawings and anticipating a visit to the children's section of the library for her books.
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on 6 June 2016
Very disappointed with this book. It is virtually identical to "Beatrix Potter, the extraordinary life of a Victorian genius" which I had already purchased.
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on 11 July 2008
The information is fascinating but I am rather disappointed that Lear uses the same quotations on a number of occasions - it makes it rather tiresome to read.
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on 17 November 2014
Good E Bayer and I am happy.
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