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Dreams of the Good Life The Life of Flora Thompson and the Creation of Lark Rise to Candleford by Richard Mabey

Dreams of the Good Life The Life of Flora Thompson and the Creation of Lark Rise to Candleford

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As a long-time lover of Lark Rise to Candleford, this was a must-read for me and indeed will be for Flora Thompson’s many fans. It was all the more poignant to read of the long and hesitant apprenticeship she underwent in writing articles and pieces for magazines, however it allowed her to find her voice and late in life she found a modest success with Lark Rise. WWII clouded her triumph, the war getting in the way of the praise she deserved and in 1947 she died as quietly as she had lived. As well as telling Flora Thompson’s story from the very meagre sources available, Richard Mabey puts her life and writing into context in this valuable look at a woman who left the flat fields of Oxfordshire and a life of drudgery behind her to find her unassuming way in the world.

If you like Richard Mabey you might also like to read books by Nan Shepherd.

The Good Book Guide logo The Good Book Guide Review. Celebrated naturalist Richard Mabey stumbled by chance on the works of Flora Thompson, and was captivated by the story of her life and career. An ambitious, largely self-taught novelist, essayist and nature writer, Thompson is best known for the loosely autobiographical Lark Rise to Candleford series, a fascinating exploration of life in the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire countryside at the end of the 19th century. Thompson’s vantage point on this pivotal moment in history, as agricultural mechanisation and urban development changed the face of rural England, provides an absorbing portrait of the period, and this warm, well-researched biography reveals Thompson as a talented writer forging a career against the odds.
~ The Good Book Guide


Dreams of the Good Life The Life of Flora Thompson and the Creation of Lark Rise to Candleford by Richard Mabey

While the Lark Rise to Candleford trilogy, Flora Thompson's much-loved portrait of life in the English countryside, has inspired a hit television series, relatively little is known about the author herself. In this highly original book, bestselling biographer and nature writer Richard Mabey sympathetically retraces her life and her transformation from a post-office clerk who left school at fourteen to a sophisticated professional writer. Revealing how a formidable imagination can arise from the humblest of beginnings, Dreams of the Good Life paints a poignant, unforgettable portrait of a working-class woman writer's struggle for creative expression.


'Terrific ... what makes Mabey's appreciation of Lark Rise's shape-shifting so compelling is that he never makes the mistake of thinking that the original was summoned up by some act of the collective unconscious. Instead, he reminds us of Thompson's awkward and patient achievement, as the sole creator of a bona fide work of art' Guardian

It seems unlikely we shall ever get closer to the woman who wrote Lark Rise to Candleford' Sunday Times

'Dreams Of The Good Life is a gem of a book, small, perfectly formed, informative and, as his title suggests, dreamy' Sunday Herald

About the Author

Richard Mabey

Richard Mabey is the author of the bestselling, award-winning and ground-breaking FLORA BRITANNICA (which sold nearly 90,000 at -35), as well as many highly praised books about nature and the environment, including FOOD FOR FREE and THE UNOFFICIAL COUNTRYSIDE. His book about Gilbert White won the Whitbread Biography of the Year.

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Book Info

Publication date

5th March 2015


Richard Mabey

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Penguin Books Ltd


240 pages


Biography / Autobiography
eBook Favourites

Biography: literary



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