Read Lark Rise to Candleford: A Trilogy: Lark Rise; Over to Candleford; Candleford Green by Flora Thompson H. Massingham Online


Paperback. Pub Date: 02 May 2008 Pages: 544 Publisher: Penguin Classics Flora Thompson's immortal trilogy containing Lark Rise. Over To Candleford and Candleford Green. IS A Heartwarming portrayal of COUNTRY LIFE no 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 thePaperback. Pub Date: 02 May 2008 Pages: 544 Publisher: Penguin Classics Flora Thompson's immortal trilogy containing Lark Rise. Over To Candleford and Candleford Green. IS A Heartwarming portrayal of COUNTRY LIFE no 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 celeations 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....

Title : Lark Rise to Candleford: A Trilogy: Lark Rise; Over to Candleford; Candleford Green
Author :
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ISBN : 9780141037196
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 544 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Lark Rise to Candleford: A Trilogy: Lark Rise; Over to Candleford; Candleford Green Reviews

  • Pamela
    2019-04-03 06:38

    What a gift Thompson has bequeathed us. In our academies we learn history from the top down: “Big" people first followed by middling ones who managed to become important, and then the rest - farmers, laborers, servants, and craftsmen who left little more to posterity than their names in parish records and the artifacts we dig up (when we want to build a new road e.g.), catalog, and make stories about. The former existence of these people, from whom most of us are descended, are only known to us via the records of the crops they harvested, the roofs they thatched, and the wars they died in. But such records, compiled and interpreted by the Big and Middling people, have only a fleeting relationship to the people they reference. So, again, what a gift Flora Thompson offered up in 1939 when she published Lark Rise, her first memoir in what would become a trilogy depicting rural life in Oxfordshire during the 1880s and 90s. The daughter of a self-employed craftsman, Flora grew up in the smallest and poorest of social organizations, the rural hamlet. Her record of the lives and folkways of her family and neighbors, at a time when the self-sufficiency of the tenant farmer had completely given way to the wage economy and agricultural laborers had to bring up large families on ten shillings a week, is richly detailed: Their fashions, their foods, their celebrations, the songs they sang, the games they played, their daily and seasonal work routines, their schooling, their politics, their religion, their births and deaths, their joys and tribulations are all remembered in Thompson’s deceptively simple prose that masks a great and sophisticated literary power. If your ancestor was as Ag. Lab., I recommend to get to know him/her through Thompson's firsthand experience. Lark Rise to Candleford was published as a trilogy in 1945 and includes Over to Candleford (1941) and Candleford Green (1943)

  • Bethany
    2019-04-21 07:29

    Like so many others, I wanted to read Lark Rise to Candleford because I love the TV series. The book was not really what I expected, having very little plot and only focusing seriously on a few characters. (Mainly Laura, of course. So most characters you know and love from the show only get passing mentions in the books, at best.) But still, I loved it! It was such a lovely book. At first I found it a little dry, but soon became enchanted with the description of life in Lark Rise (where the first two books were set). And Laura! Oh, I loved Laura. I found a kindred spirit in her. Which is strange because I'm rather indifferent to her in the TV show... If you're a fan of the series I would recommend reading this. Just don't expect it to be terribly like the show. The overall spirit is the same, though.

  • Hilary
    2019-03-31 08:39

    This is a very long book! It almost reads more like a blog (a very faithfully, well written blog) that Flora Thompson is keeping of her life in the late 1800's in rural England. Despite the lack of plot (think of the lack of plot in a good blog, yet it's still interesting to read) it moves with grace from one topic to another, or from one interesting person to another. I do recommend the television series to those who are fans of costume drama. The characters are so incredibly truthful with each other that it draws out the truth in your life. It makes you confront it because the characters in the show do so. The truth can be painful, but also it can set you free. I have found both to be true. Yet, I always like it if the truth in my life can end and begin with a small, but good smile of self acceptance. I do try to be sure to put that in if I possibly can. I find an understanding smile is a good side dish to serve with truth.

  • Elizabeth (Miss Eliza)
    2019-04-12 03:23

    Seeing as this book is 3 books in 1 my review has averaged the 3 books. Book 1: Lark Rise 1 starRather boring overly detailed living in crappy village. I would think it was endearing and sweet if she didn't destroy all her lovely anecdotes with something horrible about what happened years later. Like Twister, lovely old man, years later he took to kill cats. Laura's father, worked hard his whole life hoping to better his family and get out of Lark Rise, he died in the same cottage 40 years later. Just making sweet memories bleak and depressing.Book 2: Over to Candleford 3 starsFirst 3/4 basically the same as the first book, but then it gets interesting once they actually get to Candleford. The interaction of a country town with Laura's young mind is fascinating.Book 3: Candleford Green 5 starsNow THIS is why I read the book. I started to watch the tv show and just loved it, hence picking up this book. It took me a year to finish it because the first book and a substantial part of the second were depressing and nothing like the show except for some character names and vague stories. But Candleford Green IS the show. If you are a fan of the show, just pick up this volume, it's wonderful and sweet and lots of fun with Laura at the Post Office working for Dorcas Lane. Also Flora Thompson doesn't destroy her own lovely imagery by adding an addendum to the end and soiling everything.

  • Gemma collins
    2019-04-23 09:20

    Yes,I got hoooked on the TV series and then bought the book but I have been wanting to read it for a while. When I was a child I loved the Laura Ingalls Wilder books and Flora Thompson has that same feeling of historical detail mixed with a nostalgic sensitivity, both being told from the point of view of a child but written in adulthood many years after the events (Laurie Lee's Cider With Rosie and Christy Browns Down All the Days also do this beautifully). This gives the writing a glorious sense of yearning but without being too sentimental and Thompson often checks herself with a wry comment on changing times; waxing lyrical about the happiness of the inhabitants of the hamlet she then describes quite frankly the desperate poverty of peoples lives and the infuriating rules of conduct that she saw change in her lifetime. She puts herself as third person in the character of Laura and in this way can be quite critical of her younger self and give some idea of other peoples attitudes towards her. Thompson/Laura is a bookish, plain girl, not popular at school, a terrible dunce at needlework but clearly, from an early age addicted to reading, preferring to lose herself in any text she could get her hands on rather than playing outside with the hamlet children. What was picked up on in the tv series is the way she never criticises openly any of her fellow beings, if someone has a fault she is always quick to point out their generosity of spirit or reasons why they behave so intolerably. They are a victim of the social system and have known nothing else or they are only doing what they think is right and are accepted as they are. Books are scarce and, cruelly it seems to us now, are hidden from her everytime she becomes too attached to them leaving her with a rapidly decreasing selection but she seems to accept this was just her mothers way of protecting her and never condemns her for what must have seemed a great injustice to a curious young girl. For details of how people really lived in the 1890's it is absolutely fascinating especially as society was rapidly changing at this time at the beginning of the industrial revolution. The descriptions of English countryside are delicious and nostalgic, describing an England that can rarely be found now and the whole thing is made somehow more poignant by the knowledge (alluded to at intervals) of the coming World War which would change everything irredeemably, the small hamlet losing a large percentage of its young men in one fell swoop. The time captured so beautifully in these three pieces - Lark Rise, Over to Candleford and Candleford Green - is a time poised on the brink of change and now, England having seen such rapid social changes once again since the publication of Thompsons book in the 30's is not just a useful documentation of how far we have come but also how things were and could be again.

  • Sonia Gomes
    2019-04-03 07:22

    At sixteen, I thought this book was a colossal bore, where was the excitement I was craving for... At a much later date, when my craze for excitement in books had abated, I picked it up and found it very good. It really is a meticulous account about rural England at around the beginning of the Twentieth Century . The author Flora Thompson has worked extremely hard to write everything she observed in her village, the lives of the peasants, the food they ate, the crops they grew, not a single detail has been overlooked.It is really a book for a person who wants to work on a project on rural England of those times, for it provides a tremendous amount of material.

  • K.
    2019-03-26 06:28

    I was inspired to get myself a copy of this book after being delighted with the BBC miniseries (am eagerly awaiting season 4, even if it is only partial). I've tried to describe how this book reads, not sure I'm going to be successful here. Let's see. It's a semi-fictional (I think names of people & places are changed, no idea what else was fictionalized) auto-biography that reads like great fiction, but not in a "fiction" way at all, but in a great biography/historical document sort of way. Not making sense here? I won't belabor the point. This is an account of a triad of small communities in British farm country from about 1880 to early 1900, as told by a girl from a tiny hamlet known as Lark Rise. She moves to another tiny village, Candleford Green as assistant in the post-office there, and then, at the end of the book, although we don't know where she goes, we know she has gone off forever to a larger place. One funny thing about this book: it's amazing what BBC did with the material. They took names and one or two incidents from the book, but mostly the miniseries was completely new and unrelated. A few really interesting things about this book: I loved reading about the food, she described in detail the diets (and subsequent health) of the inhabitants of the tiny hamlet of Lark Rise. They subsisted on vegetables from their gardens, pork (mostly cured), lard (which is what they spread on their bread) and the occasional poultry item, and once or twice a year joint of beef. Some of them had some honey from their own bees, some of them sent out for a little bit of milk, they bought bread from the baker (probably not much, they couldn't afford it), and their only other grain came from what they could glean in the fall--it didn't last long. Modern readers say "salt pork & lard!" why didn't they all die of heart-disease? Yet she describes the people and their healthy bone & teeth structure in detail. The people seemed to be healthy in body and in mind, with a healthy outlook on God, man and nature. I also loved reading about how they prepared and cooked their food. What would it be like to cook everything in a large kettle over an open fire? Little baskets hung inside the cauldron with the side dishes? Amazing. I loved how Thompson described life in what seems to us to be almost an idyllic time, and yet she doesn't make it unreal. She is very candid about the fact of their poverty--food was the only thing they had enough of (good thing, too!) everything else they went without, including essentials such as heat and clothing sometimes. The reason it read so well, I think, was that Thompson was so good at just dropping the reader right into the place. Her love for her childhood home made her words sparkle and entrance. A couple of gems from the end of the book: "...and the row of half a dozen cottages, all exactly alike in outward appearance and inside accommodation, but differing in their degree of comfort and cleanliness. Laura wondered then, as she was often to do in her after-life, why, with houses exactly alike and incomes the same to a penny, one woman will have a cosy, tasteful little home and another something not much better than a slum dwelling." (p. 532) Interesting observation.And, commenting on how things were looking at the turn of the century, low prices on food & necessities, rising wages, couples with more "things" and more leisure and less children and perhaps less sense of what it was to truly be a neighbor, the narrator makes this observation: "Those were the lines along which they were developing. Spiritually, they had lost ground, rather than gained it. Their working-class forefathers had had religious or political ideals; their talk had not lost the raciness of the soil and was seasoned with native wit which, if sometimes crude, was authentic. Few of this section of their sons and daughters were churchgoers, or game much thought to religious matters. When the subject of religion was mentioned, they professed to subscribe to its dogmas and to be shocked at the questioning of the most outworn of these; but, in reality, their creed was that of keeping up appearances. The reading they did was mass reading. Before they would open a book, they had to be told it was one that everybody was reading. ...They had not a sufficient sense of humor to originate it, but borrowed it from music-hall turns and comic papers, and the voice in which such gems were repeated was flat and toneless compared to the old country speech." (p. 554) I just thought that was interesting. Nowhere does the author speak on religious or political matters besides in passing, nor does she bemoan the change of times, but she was an acute observer of what, perhaps, has been lost in the course of progress. That agrarian lifestyle is gone, and with it a totally different breed of humble, no-nonsense, witty, hard-working, healthy people.This book was not, as some reviewers have said, a glossed-over look into what the author remembers as the perfection of her youth. Rather a beautifully written account of life long ago.

  • Kate
    2019-04-16 08:37

    I am entirely willing to admit that I read this book because of the TV series - but I wasn't at all disappointed that so few of the relationships in the series are here. Laura and her family, life in the hamlet, life in the town, are so much more vivid than I expected in a book that does little more than describe the basics of life at the end of the 19th century in rural England, that I cannot wish Thompson had more of a narrative arc in the three books that make up this book. I don't think I've ever wanted to call a book lyrical before, but this one is - if something that is so much like listening to the symphony can be called lyrical. I have read nothing like it. As the introduction in my version said, there are very few novels that tell the story of poor Victorian people from within their world. Even though Thompson was writing at a remove of many years, and during the Second World War to boot, she is speaking much more immediately than was Gaskell or Dickens or any of the later writers. She approaches poverty as something neither holy nor horrible, rather just a harsh fact. She does lament the loss of rural games, although some of those she mentioned were familiar to me as playground games. There is a fineness to her writing that stirred up memories of The Secret Garden but without that preachiness, Austen without archness, Milne without silliness. Perhaps Little House would be closest, because of the willingness to admit to the harsh and non-idyllic but this is more like oral history than reminiscence.If you are irritated by repetition, this is not the book for you - as it began as three books there are quite a few sections that repeat with varied levels of detail. If you don't like listening to people talk about how-it-was-then, it's not for you either. However, if you just like to read about history, or about a girl who just wants something more than she is ever likely to get out of the time and place where she lives, it's worth the read.

  • Aaron
    2019-04-16 05:24

    Thanks to some of my co-workers, I was definitely pulled into the BBC series that was based upon this three-in-one book written by Flora Thompson, who was sharing her experiences growing up in the Oxfordshir hamlet of Juniper, which she renamed Lark Rise, and finding employment as she trained under the postmistress, her cousin Dorcas, in the nearby town of Candleford. Flora, who calls herself Laura throughout the book, has a good eye for detail and is able to share the information of what it was like to live in the area in the 1880's and 1890's in a way that is both informative and educational.The television show is not a direct transition from the text. While Flora/Laura does look back in time, the books are arranged in chapters that are less chronological in nature and more focused on specific aspects of the hamlet/town culture. This includes examinations of schooling, religion, clothes, and work, among many others. As a result, the book is focused a bit less on specific characters and more on a social overview, though readers will recognize a number of the names mentioned throughout the volume as well as some of the specific stories presented in various episodes of the show.The television show definitely takes some dramatic liberty with the content of the books, but that is to be expected. I was glad to read the text to get a better sense of the real people who lived around Flora/Laura, and I liked having a chance to see what really happened to them. In some ways, these books have a feel that is not unlike the "Little House on the Prairie" books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, though the text is more challenging in vocabulary and reading level. That should not surprise me since I have found a lot in common between the two resulting television shows. Readers do have to be aware that there are variations between the two formats (print and television), but I have a feeling that fans of the show will also like the books. It is worth giving them a try.

  • Tony
    2019-03-30 08:35

    LARK RISE TO CANDLEFORD. (1939-1943). Flora Thompson. ****.This is essentially a lightly concealed memoir about a young girl growing up in the English countryside. Flora becomes Laura, and, in the process manages to convey to the reader what it was like back in the day. The three books are “Lark Rise” (1939), “Over to Candleford” (1941), and “Candleford Green” (1943). A fourth volume, “Still Glides the Stream,” was released in 1948, a year after the author’s death, but is not normally included as part of the series. I only read the first volume, more than enough to provide the flavor of the work. The book is very well written, and in such a way that the reader gets to feel that he or she is a resident of the village. The time period was the end of the 19th century, before automobiles and electricity and flush toilets. Life was simpler then, and that simpler life has been presented in a romantic manner that makes you feel like you should have been living back then. I’m not so sure. There were parts of the “good old days” that weren’t so good. Families were bigger back then, but there was a reason for that: life expectancy was shorter – a lot shorter. Anyway, if you take this for what it is, a nostalgic look at the past, you will leave with a better idea of what the day-to-day experiences of the villagers was like back then. Most readers today have been driven to read these books as a result of the BBC series. I haven’t seen them, but will certainly check them out. I really don’t know what to expect since there are no real stories in these works. Recommended.

  • Wealhtheow
    2019-04-18 06:17

    Like Little House on the Prairie but with more textual awareness of poverty, class, and sexism. Also, it's set in rural Victorian England. Otherwise, just like, complete with grand tales of killing the pig and stories about getting dresses muddy on the miles-long walk to school.

  • Maria
    2019-04-12 06:19

    I picked up this book because I had found the BBC production of "Lark Rise to Candleford" so very endearing. The book is quite different from the series, however, but has a very similar tone. Whilst the show is episodic and has a loose overarching storyline which underpins each season, the book itself is almost entirely lacking in plot.It is very good writing indeed which can hold my attention for 537 pages when those pages are filled with description and anecdotes.I soaked up every word as it delved into the history of everyday life of the 1880's to 1890's told through the autobiographical lens of Laura. Whilst many historical books present facts and details as found through second-hand evidence, this is history as someone actually experienced it and remembered it with fondness. You learn of what games children played, what men and women did for their own amusement and entertainment, the societal attitudes and structure in the rural villages of England, fashion, what people ate and how it was served up, the importance of the pig, and much, much more detail. It was a lovely saunter through a time before industrialisation and a memoir I am sure to revisit when I long for simpler times.

  • Leslie
    2019-04-22 06:40

    If you loved Little House on the Prairie when you were a little girl and love all the Masterpiece Theater productions (like Cranford especially) and eagerly await each and every Jane Austen adaptation you are in for a treat. If you also like long novels you won't be dissapointed. This is not an exciting novel. It's not at all thrilling, but neither is it sappy or mushy-gushy. It's actually a realistic barely-disguised memoir of an English lady who grew up in a poor country hamlet. I've just finished reading this version which contains all three novels of the trilogy and feel refreshed and charmed. I feel like I've just returned from what people are always in old novels calling "a rest cure". I escaped from the harsh, modern, maddeningly real world for a time. I should say this book is rather a lot like The Cranford Chronicles in that it's sort of plotless but unlike, Cranford, this one has a definate forward motion as our heroine grows up. It is chronologically sound. It's not even so much about the heroine as it is about the people and places around her. I suppose this sort of work has a limited sort of audience, and I suppose you all know who you are, but you're all out there, like me, needing this sort of English country charm now and then.

  • Angela Young
    2019-04-01 06:28

    I never read the sequels but I loved this book. The pace is so gentle and the book itself is gentle: Flora Thompson's slow, descriptive style is a way of writing that's vanished in this fast-moving world of ours where we feel cheated if the first sentences of a novel don't immediately make a bid for our attention. The sixth word in the first sentence of Lark Rise is gentle:'The hamlet stood on a gentle rise in the flat, wheat-growing north-east corner of Oxfordshire. We will call it Lark Rise because of the great number of skylarks which made the surrounding fields their springboard and nested on the bare earth between the rows of green corn.'And the gentle description of the countryside continues for eleven paragraphs before we meet Laura and her family. But by then images of this particular part of the countryside have been laid down in the the reader's brain and a sense that real people live on this land, work it, love it and struggle with it. I don't know when Thompson wrote the book but I do know that it was first published in 1945 so perhaps this hymn to the English countryside was a reaction to the horrors of war. For long winter nights when there's nothing on television (or when you decide to ignore the television).

  • Redfox5
    2019-04-04 03:24

    I've been alive 29 years now and I'm not sure why it's taken me so long to get round to reading my namesake book. I was pretty eager to start this, but found that eagerness wearing off pretty sharpish.The trouble is with 'The Lark Rise To Candleford' is that not a great deal happens, especially in the first part of the trilogy. We spend the whole of Lark Rise having the way of life they describe to us in great detail, with only small titbits about Laura thrown in.The second two books were a great improvement as we actually start to follow Laura in what resembles a storyline. But this still wasn't enough to keep making me pick up the book.I feel like if you have a great interest in how life was 'way back when', then you will enjoy this more than I did. I did find it interesting how religion was starting to be thrown off back then. I always assumed this came much later.Do I mind being named after Laura? Not at all, she actually did remind me of me, taking pleasure in the orderly routine of things. I'll still be proud to tell the story of where my name came from, I just won't recommend that people read the book!

  • Sverre
    2019-04-09 05:29

    The setting is rural Oxfordshire, England, in the 1880s and 90s, written half a century later. Although it is an autobiographical account of the author's childhood and youth--she being Laura, rather than Flora--it is written in third-person. However, other than a few remarks comparing later events and conditions with the time period being chronicled, the narrative is not that of a mature adult reminiscing about the past. Instead, the story is told with the innocence of a young child, largely dispassionate and somewhat devoid of emotion. Although Laura is the central character, the narrator is more akin to an academic observer than a participant, but taking care to be true to mirror childlike thoughts, reactions and expectations. Facts are frankly stated without much judgmental moralizing or a cultivated perspective.Thompson was a natural history devotee and the book reflects this proclivity in lengthy and detailed descriptions of flora and fauna. Above all this is a documentary work. Depending on the reader it can be judged as either a fascinatingly comprehensive account of minutiae from this time period in rural England, or a dreary and long-drawn-out collection of sociological and botanical trivia. There is scant dialogue or drama and no suspenseful anticipation of any kind. This is a masterful work for students of rural life in late Victorian England, but for others it may be a lot of reading (over 500 pages) to glean a few tidbits of childhood impressions and working class habits and mentality from days of yore. Yes, it does contain multiple gems and treasures to savour but be forewarned that this trilogy is not a work to be compared with the novels of Austen, Dickens or Hardy.

  • Chris
    2019-04-24 03:15

    This is one of those “saw the TV series before I heard about the book” books. I mean it has Saffie in it. Anyways, this book is different, but it’s not bad. I just wish it had little more than in the way of a plot or was a straight out memoir. The three books that make up this edition detail the life of the poor people (low class) that Flora Thompson came from. In this regard, it does make the first volume, “Lark Rise”, the best of the three. The level of detail and the almost chatty tone in Lark Rise make up for the slight lack of characterization. You can be there, and you can understand why it was adapted into a series. This falls off slightly in the second book, “Over Candleford,” though some of the charm is still there, and there is more reference to subjects that were taboo, such as drunkenness and its corresponding violence. The third volume, detailing Laura’s rise to a job is perhaps the weakest because while it is the closest to having a plot, it doesn’t quite, and the charm is missing in large sections. Still it captures what was and how it changed quite well.

  • Debbie
    2019-04-03 05:41

    "Lark Rise to Candleford" is an autobiography about a woman who grew up in a small, very poor hamlet in England from 1876 to 1892. (She refers to herself as "Laura" instead of writing as "I.") As a teenager, she often spent her summers in a nearby town where her better-off cousins lived. At age 16, she went to work in a post office at the edge of that town. She described life--education, games, holidays, etc.--at that time, but she also tells stories about things she did relating to these subjects. The book reminded me of the Laura Wilder books, but this was less a narrative about Flora's life and more a telling about how people lived with some related stories (not in any order) relating to the current topic. It was interesting and engaging. I'd recommend this book to anyone who enjoys learning more about how people lived at other places and times.

  • Hessie
    2019-04-10 06:33

    If you are considering "Lark Rise to Candleford" after watching the series, you won't be disappointed if you are looking for a richer picture of the communities and customs of that time and place. If you are looking for drama or even a plot line, you may be surprised. I, for one, loved the pace and description of this memoir-esque book and found it perfectly delightful to read from beginning to end. The first section of the book about the hamlet of Lark Rise was particularly beautiful and intriguing with the country customs described. The book is well worth reading for the insights it provides of a time different and then not so different from our own.

  • Bettie☯
    2019-03-24 11:28

    from imdb - An adaptation of Flora Thompson's autobiographical novel "Lark Rise To Candleford", set in 19 century Oxfordshire, in which a young girl moves to the local market town to begin an apprenticeship as a postmistress.This is Thompson writing in Austen's 'Emma' mode, executing her fictionalised autobiography. After a while the self-righteous moralising tone palls, however it is well worth a dip-in.

  • Jill Robertson
    2019-04-04 10:20

    I have just re-read Flora Thompson's classic story of the English countryside 'Lark Rise to Candleford'. Originally written as three separate novels (1939 , 1941, 1943) the books were abridged to form this one publication in 1945 and has remained a much-loved account ever since. It is semi-autobiographical with Flora being Laura in the book and her home village of Juniper named Lark Rise. Some critics believe the story, written when Flora was in her 60s, is a highly romanticised version of life from the 1880s to when the railways, mechanisation and progress destroyed the idyllic country way of life forever. While we do indeed read of the joys of nature, the festivals, the food, the songs and games the children played, we also read of the farmers' struggles, the hard lives the women endured, the poverty, the children having to walk miles to school, the constant threat of eviction, the sad deaths of children. Thompson writes in a delightful, evocative style that vividly brings to life the characters, landscapes and country rituals. My father had a 1950s copy which I loved as a child, but the version I read now was one my daughter Kate gave me in 1991: an illustrated version with photos and paintings that brings the English countryside to life. The photos are authentic and bring the reader closer to imagining what life was like then; the illustrations are those Victorian romantic paintings that show thatched cottages with roses around the door, a cat sunning itself, a bluebell wood, rugged men harvesting the golden wheat - beautiful but not quite the reality.

  • Chrystal
    2019-04-06 05:17

    Lark Rise: 3 starsThe first part of the book reads very much like a history textbook: impressions of life in an Oxfordshire hamlet in the decade of the 1880's. There is no story as such, only descriptions of everyday life in the hamlet (what food they ate, what clothes they wore, what their houses were like, what jobs they performed, how they raised their children, the school & the church, holidays and the Queen's Golden Jubilee in 1887). Interesting but a little dry.

  • Julianna
    2019-04-16 08:41

    I loved these books so much! They're beautiful, melancholy, funny, and lyrical without ever either romanticizing or being overly dismal about the rough rural life. The style is simple and straightforward, but not dry, you really feel the authors affection for the people and place. This is a trilogy of three books together, but it reads perfectly as one.

  • Gale
    2019-04-02 07:36

    Beloved Memories of a Country GirlhoodLARK RISE Set in the latter part of Queen Victoria’s reign this first part of Thompson’s trilogy captivates readers despite the fact that it proves virtually plot less, with minimal character development.Although narrated in the 3rd person the 250 pages provide gentle nostalgia for on the part of young Laura. Written from the vantage of mature reflection decades after her girlhood Lark Rise preserves with fondness but without bitter sentimentality a vanished way of life in rural England.While lamenting the loss of country innocence a Grownup Laura recalls in vivid detail all aspects of the impoverished hamlet of Lark Rise--before the 1887 Jubilee: school, being sent out “in service,” church and religion, field work, games, courtship, births, morality, gossip, and festivals. Wistfully she recognizes the gradual diminishing of simple customs which few realized while it was happening. IT being progress, industrialization and the interplay of generational scorn. This book sets the stage for the stories to come, briefly mentioning a few key players upon this bucolic stage.2. OVER TO CANDLEFORD Part Two of this nostalgic trilogy, much the shortest, offers glimpses into Laura’s modest ventures into the world: as far as Candleford at least. Annual summer vacations with her aunts, uncles and cousins prove enlightening re different ways of rearing children, homely comforts and handling neighbors. Growing both in favor with her last teachers, yet increasingly aware that her father is different from most of the Lark Rise men, she rates her sewing as poor by expected domestic standards, but her desire to read (and tentatively to writ) as beyond the norm. As she reaches her early teens she becomes increasingly restive and dissatisfied with her parents’ plans for her career. In fact, both she and Edmund face stern parental objections to following their dreams.It was cousin-like Dorcas Lane, the Postmistress of Candleford, who resolves Laura's adolescent malaise by offering her a place in what was mainly a man’s realm. Despite much fondly-recalled generalizations of changing hamlet ways from the ‘80’s to the early 90’s Laura clearly emerges as the protagonist in these nostalgic pages—a young lady destined to witness more of her circumscribed world.3. CANDLEFORD GREEN This last part of the trilogy clearly presents Laura’s passage from girlhood to womanhood—where she considers the values, joys and labors she knew and expected in Lark Rise against the backdrop of a slightly more up-to-date village. While reveling in the relative luxuries offered by Miss Lane, and relishing adult responsibility of a rural postmistress, Laura finally begins to recall with fondness the emotional security of her first home--the simple end house. Her relationship with her mother becomes more profound and appreciative, while she recognizes her innate need to be close to nature—of the non-human kind. From her vantage point of the early 20th century FT’s sweet, unassuming alter-ego ultimately chooses to tear the ties which bound her to the increasingly middle class villagers. Disappointing Miss Lane’s generous wish that she follow in her footsteps, Laura yields to the gentle but insistent pressure of the gossamer threads which called to her homespun roots of “love, kinship and cherished memories.” If readers would learn more about Laura’s further postal and literary adventures they should consult a biography of Flora Thompson. A sociological history of the gradual death of a bygone Oxfordshire lifestyle. January 27, 2016

  • Marieke
    2019-04-22 11:21

    Lark Rise to Candleford was an intriguing journey. I had mixed feelings about it all the way and there were several times when I nearly abandoned ship. But I kept going, and the reading got better the further I got. In the end, I wished the story went on longer, so I could follow Laura further into her newly independent life.This book is hard to define – could it have pioneered the ‘fictionalised memoir’ long before it became a well known genre? It’s basically non-fiction, written in episodic, report-like sections, focusing on the village and its inhabitants. Flora Thompson changes her name to Laura in the book, but we don’t know what else is fictionalised.What I craved was character, and I didn’t appreciate that the village (or hamlet as Thompson calls it) was actually the main character. The book starts off reading like an anthropological observation of village life, with lengthy descriptions of pig-killing, housework and fieldwork, and styles of dress. I was struggling to place Thompson in amongst these rather dry, detached observations. She only ever mentions herself and her brother vaguely as ‘the children in the end house.’ Here are my thoughts on Thompson part-way in:'My impression of Thompson so far (100 pages in) is she's vaguely cranky, moralising, interested in criticising the present and idealising the past. People were poor, but they were happier back then. No one got sick because they lived outside and were hardy and hard-working. The men were happy with their half-pint. Everyone sang as they worked. There was a real sense of community. Blah, blah, blah.'She was writing as a mature woman; she was in her early 60s when the first book, Lark Rise, was published in 1939, and nearly 70 when the three books were reissued into the current combined volume, Lark Rise to Candleford, in 1945. I think this backdrop of the modern world encroaching, a second world war beginning, and the author herself aging, all have an effect on the tone and presentation of the story. (For instance, the crankiness.)It all raises the question, why is Thompson writing this book? She tells us so little about herself, I don’t think the ‘memoir’ label is quite accurate. Laura/Flora is nearly as detached as a fly on the wall, through most of the book. But then she pops into the narrative occasionally with unexpected passion. At times, the narrative becomes almost like a personal journal, with a lovely episode when Laura and her brother walk to Candleford alone for the first time. There were more of these personal stories later in the book, which is why I enjoyed the end more than the beginning. But this constant change in perspective makes the book have a muddled feel to it, like the purpose isn’t quite clear, even to the author herself.This is a book ripe for discussion, because it’s interestingly flawed, but also enjoyable and memorable (and has an excellent TV series to go with it).

  • Ana T.
    2019-04-13 09:17

    Sensitive and book-loving Laura is born in the rural hamlet of Lark Rise, where life has followed an unchanging pattern for centuries and the days are governed by the rhythms of nature. This is the unforgettable story of her beloved home: a place where children know the name of every bird, flower and tree; men work the fields; women gossip over the fence; and the last relics of country customs have yet to die out. Whether it is describing ancient traditions such as the Mayday garland procession, bringing the harvest home and singing ballads in the local inn, or introducing characters such as Laura's radical father, the pioneering Mrs Spicer, the eccentric bee-keeping Queenie and ladies who wear bustles to feed the pigs, (...)Flora Thompson's autobiographical Lark Rise to Candleford trilogy captures a vanished corner of rural England and the timeless joys of childhood.I had planned to read the book before watching the mini series but I only finished it afterwards... the book is very different from the series in it's story.The series begins with Laura going to the Post Office and here that only happens on page 395, the third part of the book. Overall it is an interesting book telling many stories regarding the people of Lark Rise but I found it overly descriptive. The perfect source for a TV series as it tells of many different people and their stories but for me it didn't work as well as a book. It was interesting to know the way of life in a small hamlet at the turn of the century but I got a bit confused with so many characters being introduced. I think I appreciated it more as a testemonial of past times than as someone's history. No doubt there's much material there yet for a second and even third season of the TV series.Grade: B -

  • Joey
    2019-04-10 10:38

    Lark Rise to Candleford is actually three books, "Larkrise", "Over to Candleford", and "Candleford Green". Set in rural 1890's Oxfordshire, the author recounts her childhood, writing down all the little details and beauty of country life. Flora Thompson was a naturalist and her love of nature is self-evident in this trilogy. "Nearer at hand where the trees and bushes and wild-flower patches beside the path she had trodden daily. The pond where the yellow brandyball waterlilies grew, the little birch thicket where the long-tailed tits had congregated , the boathouse where she had sheltered from the thunderstorm and seen the rain plash like leaden bullets into the leaden water, and the hillock beyond from which she had seen the perfect rainbow. She was never to see any of these again, but she was to carry a mental picture of them, to be recalled at will, through the changing scenes of lifetime."As she went on her way, gossamer threads, sun from bush to bush, barricaded her pathway, and as she broke through one after another of these fairy barricades she thought, ‘They’re trying to bind and keep me’. But the threads which were to bind her to hernative county were more enduring than gossamer. They were spun of love and kinship and cherished memories"(The BBC TV Adaptation of "Lark Rise to Candleford" converted this final paragraph from "Candleford Green" into a poem that Mrs. Timmins recites)I loved this and all the frequent descriptions of nature, the narrations of the simplicity of country life, and the stories of everyday people was so heartwarming. The final paragraph (quoted above) proved so moving that my eyes began to water. :-) I recommend this book to everyone!

  • Lize
    2019-04-11 08:41

    (I found this at the library after watching series 1 and 2 of the BBC production on DVD. My copy was an abridged version, gorgeously illustrated with cottage scenes by the likes of Sir George Clausen, Helen Allingham and Claude Strachan.)What a lovely book! Published in 1939, it's an account of the author's childhood in an English country village in the late 1800s, and it reads very much like Laura Ingalls Wilder's 'Little House' series, and is just as timeless. Phenomenally detailed in some places, I could totally see how the BBC production took this framework and ran with it, with charming results. A sample:"Laura had never known anyone like her Aunt Ann. The neighbors at home were kind in their rough way, but they were so bend on doing their best for themselves and those belonging to them that, excepting in times of illness or trouble, they had little feeling to spare for others. Her mother was kind and sensible and loved her children dearly, but she did not believe in showing too much tenderness towards them or in 'giving herself away' to the world at large. Aunt Ann gave herself away with every breath she drew."Highly recommended, both the book and the BBC series. I ended up with an abridged copy of the book, but I suspect I'll track down the full version for a future reread.

  • Laura
    2019-03-24 03:20

    I decided to read this book because I enjoyed the BBC series adapted from it, and plus, the main character shares my name, so how could I resist? Though it's technically a book of fiction, it doesn't really read like one. It's more a collection of stories and reminiscences of a way of life that has long since been lost. There wasn't really an overall plot, so it wasn't a gripping page-turner of a book, but pleasant enough to read as long as it was done in small portions.I couldn't help but compare Lark Rise to Candleford to the Little House books: both are coming of age stories of a girl named Laura and both occur at about the same time. Both books capture the description of the world as seen through the eyes of a young girl. Though the American west was evidently quite different than an English country village, both capture the small and insignificant details of every day life that I find so intriguing to read about.However, I probably only would have given the book 3 stars if I hadn't seen the television series first. I'm not sure that I would have been able to enjoy and relate to the characters in the book that get only a passing mention if I hadn't seen them already characterized in the show.

  • Brett
    2019-04-16 09:27

    I think this semi-autobiographical book is more of a memoir than a novel, as there isn't much dialogue & not much "happens" in the way of a plot. It's more a series of vignettes & descriptions to do with various aspects of life in the British countryside at the turn of the twentieth century. Most of the time, the telling is matter-of-fact recollections, unshaded by how the third-person narrator felt about anything, & that actually works very well for its purpose. The reader emerges feeling that these people really existed & everything described really happened, without there being a judgment. The language is wonderful, & upon finishing the entire trilogy, the reader feels that they've been in a time machine to the actual time & place, it feels so real & is such a thorough look at a fascinating time - when the English countryside slowly started to change from following centuries of little-changing tradition, to the modern society we know now. It's very nostalgic without being sentimental. However, I wish to point out that someone looking for a novelization of life at the time may not find this to be what they were wanting - but a person interested in how life was truly lived at the time will find it stays with them for a long time.