An English village childhood memoir recalling a single year in Candida Lycett Green's early years in the bohemian Betjeman household.
1949: one year in the childhood of Candida Lycett Green in the remote village of Farnborough in Berkshire. Here she lives with her father John Betjeman and her mother Penelope Chetwode, in one of the bleakest and highest spots on the windswept downland.Candida runs wild with the ‘gang’ of village children. Stimulated by regular excursions to the cinema in Wantage, Candida and her best friend June became fascinated by the idea of love. Their romantic imagination is fuelled by the beautiful Ruby Mason, who cleans the cottage of a reclusive scientist, Dr Fox, employed at the neighbouring Harwell Atomic Research Centre. They stealthily engineer a romance between the two - until it is revealed that none of the children’s special adult friends are what they seem, and the real world shockingly intervenes to overturn their innocence.
Candida Lycett Green’s most recent book is the critically acclaimed Over the Hills and Far Away. She is the author of more than a dozen books including English Cottages, Goodbye London, The Garden at Highgrove
(with the Prince of Wales) and The Perfect English House
. She has also edited and introduced her father John Betjeman’s letters and prose. She was a commissioner for English Heritage for nine years and writes a regular column for the Oldie
. She has five children and eight grandchildren and lives with her husband Rupert in Oxfordshire.
Evokes the world of her childhood with exceptional clarity, tenderness and precision.,A sort of Cider with Rosie . . .
her writing oozes nostalgia, affection and a passion for the English countryside.,Without the slightest sentimentality, this magical book describes what was lost: a closeness to the natural world, a life tied to the seasons, and memories of incredible richness and texture.,Enchanting memoir . . . Lycett Green makes the beautiful countryside throughout the seasons as real as the robust villagers.,Executed with accomplishment and brio. Lycett Green may be practised, but there's a delightful freshness here, along with humour, empathy and an unexpected sense of menace.,'Touching tale of a year in the life of a post-war childhood ... Poignant','A beautiful book ... It anchors the author's standing as the finest writer of our time on the English countryside ... What she brings to this lyrical story is a touch of magic ... Original and enchanting','This memoir with novelised flourishes is enchanting, a delight from beginning to end ... It's rare for a book to have both charm and menace but this one does',‘Lycett Green’s eye is so good and her way with words so felicitous … Beautifully done … A book of great charm’,'An intriguing narrative carried along by a beautifully detailed take on a small English village in 1949',This volume of memoirs confirms her as a great chronicler of rural England … As ever, Lycett Green proves herself effortlessly adept at capturing a bygone age and, while the book is in no way about her father, the occasional glimpses of him as a private rather than a public man are fascinating.’