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Lark Rise to Candleford by Flora Thompson

Lark Rise to Candleford (1945)

by Flora Thompson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Lark Rise to Candleford trilogy (omnibus 1-3)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,420238,135 (4.09)156
Recently added byred_guy, private library, Ygraine, EmilyMorland, davenportfamily, erj-rnc, Idownes1701, kd_lawson
Legacy LibrariesAstrid Lindgren
  1. 50
    Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell (Staramber)
    Staramber: In Over To Candleford Laura reads Cranford to her Uncle. Although separated by time they both contain everyday descriptions of provincial British life by – largely – passive narrators.
  2. 30
    A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (atimco)
    atimco: Both stories are semi-autobiographical and tell the story of a young, sensitive girl coming of age in a poor community. The heroines have similar family structures (attractive, hardworking mother, generally absent/weak father, younger brother who fits into his surroundings better than his older sister). The historical setting is very important to both works and almost acts as a character in its own right.… (more)
  3. 10
    The Country Child by Alison Uttley (patchygirl)
    patchygirl: Many lovely books come up in the recommendations for Lark Rise to Candleford, including The Country Child. For me, the latter is such a particularly good pair for Lark Rise that I just want to give it a special mention.
  4. 10
    The Country of the Pointed Firs by Sarah Orne Jewett (atimco)
    atimco: Both are narrated by a semi-outsider and share a quiet, contemplative, sometimes humorous tone. Both authors evidently desire to use their fiction to capture a disappearing (or disappeared) way of life.
  5. 10
    Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen (Staramber)
    Staramber: Althought the topics differ both are similarly structured and fascinating
  6. 00
    Precious Bane by Mary Webb (KayCliff)

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» See also 156 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
Flora Thompson grew up in the late 1800s in a tiny hamlet in the middle of nowhere. Her life was one of daily repetition where almost nothing changed and grinding poverty. Yet, perhaps because she learned to read at a very early age, she has an eye for detail that observes her childhood world slightly from the outside.
A book that might have been boring in other hands becomes a fascinating account of the minutiae of the daily lives of the villagers and a reminder how many of our ancestors would have lived not so very far in the past.
It's also a telling indictment of the Enclosure Acts. The only villagers who had any money were the older ones who had managed to put money aside while they were still had enough money to be able to save some. The loss of the common land made the difference between being merely poor and living on the edge of destitution. ( )
1 vote JudithProctor | Jun 30, 2017 |
Since I thought the dramatization of Lark Rise was fun, I figured the book should be good. And it was! But it is NOT the dramatization. It's not really a story - it's a personal view of the history of village/hamlet life in England in the late 1800s. It does have bits and pieces of "Laura"'s life (which is somewhat representative of Flora's own life). I still loved it, and recommend it, but if you want only a story that's just like the dramatzation ... you might be disappointed. ( )
  camelama | Dec 30, 2016 |
Flora Thompson's account of life in rural Oxfordshire in the last decades of the nineteenth century portrays an entire culture still governed by the rising and setting of the sun... perhaps the most intimate and persuasive account of the old rural order just before its transformation by modernism.

And what an informative and picturesque portrait it is. With no plot nor overarching story, almost the entire book is anecdotes and descriptions of the bygone days with interesting social commentary but Thompson evokes it all so beautifully. It makes me absolutely thankful of this luxurious-by-comparison modern world we have where we have more time for tending to our wants rather than spending all day to insufficiently tend to our needs but lose the connection to nature and community. Such are the trade-offs of modern life.

It was fun to wrap my head around the fact that I'm reading a book written seventy years ago, in which the author is writing about a time sixty years ago from her time. Even better is how the opinions of her characters of the people fifty years ago from their time, is similar to her opinions of those characters, and also our opinion of her times, it's surprising how relevant some sentiments (regarding the advance of technology, relationships between parents and children) still are. The stand out is that regarding the bicycles, a new mode of transport people railed against, citing them as dangerous and too fast, and that roads should be left to pedestrians. A sentiment then heaped onto automobiles, motorcycles, self-driving cars, and even back again to bicycles in areas without specific bike lanes where cyclists ride on footpaths.

Other highlights include the breakdown of social hierarchy, changing views on necessity of education, growing independence for women - Dorcas Lane is my hero, the modern day woman rebellions against authority figures, and Emily Rose my ideal olden-days lover where she sews and I knit in front of a big cosy fire, but of course we'll tell everyone we're only good spinster friends who only live together to save our pennies - , but the crème de la crème of it all is the "family pig", so beloved - that it warrants special and compulsory mentions in letters and daily conversations - and so delicious.

This autobiographical novel - although written in third person form which ironically made it more intimate and believable where the usage of "I" might have come across as too brash and obnoxious - is the book version of a mood lighting, utterly exquisite and evocative of those halcyon days without ignoring the hardships and intolerances endured. Recommended if you're interested in somewhat idyllic, rural communities or the effects of modernisation at the turn of the 20th century. ( )
  kitzyl | Sep 23, 2016 |
Exquisite is the first word that comes to mind, but a special kind of exquisite, a gentle and tactful, clear-eyed (as opposed to naive or nostalgically sentimental) remembrance of life in a hamlet about 20 miles from Oxford in the last two decades of the 19th century. I'm old enough to know that there is always "a way of life passing by" (I remember the milkman delivering our milk in glass bottles for example) but Flora, (disguised as Laura) describes everything of the habits, dress, food, celebrations, furnishings and social structure of her childhood and this truly was, in a very critical way, a rural life that was about to come crashing to an end. This is really three books in one and I generally read ten or twenty pages at night before going to sleep. A treasure, Thompson manages to simultaneously write both subjectively and objectively about a way of life in which she was immersed as a child. I look forward to seeking out the BBC rendering of it which I gather is quite good. ***** ( )
2 vote sibyx | Apr 11, 2016 |
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. ( )
1 vote wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Flora Thompsonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Mabey, RichardIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Massingham, H.J.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Lark Rise

Poor People's Houses

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 she herself did not really wish to become a member; she never did wish to do what everybody else was doing, which showed she had a contrary nature, she had often been told, but it was really because her thought and tastes ran upon different lines than those of the majority.
But have we any of us a free choice of our path in life, or are we driven on by destiny or by the demon within us into a path already marked out? Who can tell?
Her mother's judgement was usually sound, and she had often told her: 'You're not cut out for a pleasant, easy life. You think too much!'
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140036725, Paperback)

The inspiration for a popular television series that aired on PBS in 2009, Lark Rise to Candleford is Flora Thompson's classic evocation of a vanished world of agricultural customs and rural culture. The trilogy of Lark Rise, Over to Candleford, and Candleford Green tells the story of Thompson's childhood and youth during the 1880s in Lark Rise--in reality Juniper Hill, the hamlet in Oxfordshire where she was born. Through the eyes of Laura, the author's fictional counterpart, Thompson describes the cottages, characters, and way of life of the agricultural laborers and their families with whom she grew up--seasonal celebrations, schooling, church-going, entertainment, and story-telling are described in fond and vivid detail. This new edition of the trilogy, the only hardback edition in print, boasts an attractive format complete with ribbon marker and the original wood-engravings by Julie Neild. The edition includes a new introduction by Phillip Mallett, which looks at the background to the books and their enduring popularity, plus a useful select bibliography and a chronology of Flora Thompson's life and publications.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:39 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

The story of three closely-related Oxfordshire communities -- a hamlet, a village, and a town -- and the memorable cast of characters who people them. Based on Thompson's own experiences as a child and young woman, it is keenly observed and beautifully narrated, quiet and evocative.… (more)

» see all 6 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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