Tagged with rural novels

The Pastor’s Wife by Elizabeth von Arnim (1914)

Review by Sylvia D: The Pastor’s Wife is a joy to read. It is witty, thought-provoking, full of wonderful descriptive passages and a fine study of human isolation. The main character, Ingeborg Bullivant, moves from the tyranny of an unbending, pompous Bishop of a father to being helpmeet to a stolid German pastor for whom … Continue reading

Elizabeth and her German Garden (1898)

Next we have a run of Elizabeth von Arnim reviews. I’ve now read Elizabeth von Arnim with both my reading groups, because I simply love hearing people’s reactions to reading her. This time was particularly enjoyable as everyone was struck by the quality of the writing and wanted to read more. I was a very … Continue reading

Witch-Hazel by Willie Riley (1928)

Review by Jane V: Divided into three books to show the passage of the years, the novel tells the story of three young people growing up in Yorkshire in the 1920s (?): a clairvoyant girl, a spoilt young master of the big house and a foundling boy.  The girl is ‘related’ to the spoilt young … Continue reading

Olive of Sylcote by Willie Riley (1918)

We’re backtracking a bit here, to the author we read a couple of months ago: Willie Riley. But it’s good to get another reader’s response to a novel I am sure has not been read for many a long year! Next: Henry Williamson. Review by Helen N: I found it quite a “stiff” read at … Continue reading

Men of Mawm by Willie Riley (1921)

I spoke too soon! Here’s one more Riley review. Review by Sylvia D: Men of Mawm is an attractively produced book with line drawings inside the front and back covers and with eight black and white photographs which illustrate the rugged moorland landscapes, the village and the supposed homes of the two main village families … Continue reading

Challenge to Sirius by Sheila Kaye Smith (1917)

Review by Thecla W: I found this novel hard-going but it has a certain dreary fascination for any fan of Cold Comfort Farm. The narrative is chronological and the novel is structured in episodes, each one set in a specific place: Sussex, London, Sussex, America, Yucatan, Sussex. Frank Rainger lives with his father at Luke … Continue reading

Sussex Gorse by Sheila Kaye Smith (1916)

Our second reading group looked at the novels of Sheila Kaye Smith this month. We had a few Kaye Smith novels, and then were delighted to receive a donation of several more from Pat, who is doing a PhD on her – thank you Pat! Previous reviews of Kaye Smith’s novel Joanna Godden (1921)have been … Continue reading

Lucy Carmichael by Margaret Kennedy (1951)

Margaret Kennedy is probably best-known for her 1924 novel The Constant Nymph. It’s a pretty strange novel, about a bohemian English family living in the Austrian Tyrol. The ‘constant nymph’ is Tessa, who is 14 at the beginning of the novel, and only 15 when she runs away with an adult family friend. It is … Continue reading

Joanna Godden by Sheila Kaye Smith (1921)

Today we have our second review of Joanna Godden (see the first review here). Both our readers were very impressed with the novel – time for a reprint perhaps? Review by Sylvia D: In 1897 Joanna Godden inherits her father’s sheep farm, Little Ansdore, in the Kent marshes.  There are no strings attached.  He doesn’t … Continue reading

Joanna Godden by Sheila Kaye Smith (1921)

I very much enjoyed this novel: it has a direct and precise style, striking characters and situations, an unusual and thoroughly imagined setting in the Romney Marshes in the late 19th century and a narrative which makes you want to read on. The narrator clearly knows many things which Joanna Godden does not, both about … Continue reading