"As she went on her way, gossamer threads, spun 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 her native county were more enduring than gossamer. They were spun of love and kinship and cherished memories."
Detailing life in a country village in the years before the Industrial Revolution, Lark Rise to Candleford is a fictionalized autobiography. Its charming remembrance of local customs, crafts, and culture is distinguished by its fidelity to the roaming curiosity of a child’s eye, as an early passage illustrates: "One old woman once handed the little girl a leaf from a pot-plant on her window-sill. 'What’s it called?' was the inevitable question. 'Tis called mind your own business,' was the reply; 'an’ I think I’d better give a slip of it to your mother to plant in a pot for you.”' What’s most pleasing about Thompson’s writing is the easy confidence of her affectionate portrayal of times past. Farmers and traveling vendors, family and schoolwork, seasonal festivals and the small matters of community life are recalled, and the natural beauty of the English countryside is quietly honored by exact description. This is not only a book that evokes a lost world, but one that transports us to a simpler era with clarity and calm attention.