A Natural History of the Hedgerow, and ditches, dykes and dry stone walls

John Wright is a naturalist and former cabinet maker, whose hobbies have turned into jobs and, in many cases, also books. A Natural History of the Hedgerow is a separate venture from his River Cottage Handbooks, and is both lavish (colour photographs throughout!) and lacking, possibly due to a desire on the publisher's part to … Continue reading A Natural History of the Hedgerow, and ditches, dykes and dry stone walls

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Emma Geen, The Many Selves of Katherine North

This novel had been recommended to me by a Twitter friend a year ago, in terms that made me think that it must be a sf classic, a great sf novel by a British woman that I had unaccountably missed. He too may have got the dates wrong, because this is a 2017 novel by … Continue reading Emma Geen, The Many Selves of Katherine North

Rachel Ferguson’s A Footman for the Peacock: a hatchet job

There is a good novel buried in this sprawling, self-indulgent fantasy of irony and class consciousness. Rachel Ferguson wrote A Footman for the Peacock¬†(1940) right at the beginning of the Second World War: it was her eighth novel and fourteenth book. Comparing it to its immediate predecessor, Alas Poor Lady (1937), one can only assume … Continue reading Rachel Ferguson’s A Footman for the Peacock: a hatchet job