Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Lark Rise to Candleford: A Trilogy

By: Flora Thompson

Published: 1939-1945


"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. " (Amazon.com)

My Thoughts:

I have been faithfully watching the BBC adaptation and I can't wait till my copy of the book arrives.

A Lantern in Her Hand

By: Beth Streeter Aldrich

Published: 1928


"Piercingly beautiful. . . . Aldrich's pioneer woman was based on her mother, and the integrity of her depiction of life in a sod house in the late nineteeth-century Nebraska speaks to her readers. . . . In her own introduction Aldrich writes of wanting to tell her mother's story after her mother's death: 'Other writers had depicted the Midwest's early days, but so often they had pictured their women as gaunt, browbeaten creatures, despairing women whom life seemed to defeat. That was not my mother. Not with her courage, her humor, her nature that would cause her to say at the end of her life: 'We had the best time in the world." (Amazon.com)

My Thoughts:

I have yet to read this, but will soon. Aldrich is a family name. I hope we're related!

Up a Road Slowly

By: Irene Hunt

Published: 1966 (I may have to remove this one from my list because it does not fall within my date range)


"If you were ever a child, ever an adolescent, you will understand Julie. I saw a lot of myself in her when I read this as a middle school dreamer. Irene Hunt's coming-of-age novel is a remarkably moving work - and therefore, timeless.

Little Julie Trelling and her older brother Chris are left to live with their firm, but kind Aunt Cordelia when her father is widowed. Bright, sensitive, and a bit of a rebel, Julie faces the tough challenges of growing up smart and female. During her childhood, Julie learns bittersweet lessons in heartbreak and compassion and justice and love as only as children do. As idyllic as her country life seems, there is prejudice, meanness, and smallness of human spirit in all corners of the world. Hunt emphasizes her point by making the time and place settings vague. We could all be a Julie living in a no-name town.

As Julie grows up from a young child of seven to seventeen, she tells her story in a voice both immediate and honest. So you feel her triumphs, spirit, wrongs, and experiences in "real time." Hunt creates a vibrantly alive character who draws you in with her compelling point of view. While this is primarily Julie's story, you meet the formidable Aunt Cordelia, whose own life could have been Julie's life. Both women are strong, admirable portrayals, making this an excellent book for girls. Other memorable characters are Alicia, Danny, Carlotta, and Aggie.

The book isn't all lessons and wisdom. It's mostly evocative and reflective, stringing together significant moments in growing up with precise detail of everyday things (like windowsills and bowls of berries), rather than being action-packed or plot-driven. Hunt tell us that growing up isn't simple, but you're also never alone even when you want to be, as even enemies and bad experiences shape us as much as the loved ones and good times do. Up a Road Slowly is written poignantly and intimately." (Amazon.com)

My Thoughts:

I just placed an order for this and am excited to read it.