Friday, 24 March 2017
The Lark by E Nesbit
Another treat from Dean Street Press arrived a few weeks ago. One of their Furrowed Middlebrow reprints for me to read and review.
All I knew about E Nesbit was that she had written 'The Railway Children' and 'Five Children and It', but she also wrote several books for adults, this one being the last, written in 1922.
The Lark isn't about birds but the word is used in the old fashioned sense - fun and an adventure and charts the story of two girls finding a way of earning a living after their guardian has used all their inheritance for himself....... leaving them with a cottage and £500.
Jane and Lucilla are still in school - aged about 18 when they get the letter from their guardian telling them to leave school, but the story had started 6 years earlier. Jane braves a woodland at midnight to chant a magical spell found in a book which is supposed to show her the man she will marry. By chance John Rochester, a young man (but several years older than Jane) is walking through the wood and stumbles on Jane but quickly leaves when he realises that she has seen him.
Fast forward 6 years - after WW1- John Rochester just happens to be the nephew of an elderly man who owns a huge empty house close to the cottage the girls are living in.
The story is quite light and fluffy, everything goes well, (except for the Paying Guests!) they sell flowers, get permission to use the garden of the big house, then one of the rooms and then the whole house, find a gardener by chance and rescue him from poverty. Gladys, their favourite maid from the boarding school comes to hep them out - adding many tales of all her young men! There are some lovely descriptions of the house and furnishings and many humorous bits that made me smile.
Happy ending of course for Jane and Mr Rochester ( although they are totally unlike their Charlotte Bronte namesakes) but we never really know the end of the story for the others.
An enjoyable read that I would never had known about without Scott at Furrowed Middlebrow and his collaboration with Dean Street Press.
Thank you for all the comments about the WI on my last post.