Lark Rise to Candleford

Now a 10-Part Miniseries Airing on PBS

Flora Thompson (1876–1947) wrote what may be the quintessential distillation of English country life at the turn of the twentieth century. In 1945, the three books Lark Rise (1939), Over to Candleford (1941), and Candleford Green (1943) were published together in one elegant volume, and this new omnibus Nonpareil edition, complete with charming wood engravings, should be a cause for real rejoicing.

In his introduction, H. J. Massingham observes that Thompson “possesses the attributes both of sympathetic presentation and literary power to such a degree of quality and beauty that her claims upon posterity can hardly be questioned.” He calls the books themselves “a triune achievement: a triumph of evocation in the resurrecting of an age that, being transitional, was the most difficult to catch as it flew; another in diversity of rural portraiture engagingly blended with autobiography; and the last in the overtones and implications of a set of values which is the author’s ‘message’.”

This is 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 her own experiences as a child and young woman, it is keenly observed and beautifully narrated, quiet and evocative. The books have inspired two plays that ran in London, and a new ten-part BBC-TV drama series to be broadcast in the US in 2009.

Praise for Lark Rise to Candleford

Our literature has no finer remembrancer . . . no observer so genuinely endearing.
–John Fowles, New Statesman

Flora Thompson’s great memoir of her Oxfordshire girlhood [is] a model of the form. The richness of the language, the lingering over detail and incident creates a haunting classic.
The New York Times