Monday, 25 January 2010

Gone to earth (Webb) 17

I picked up Precious Bane in the Borders closing down sale, and although I have yet to read it, when I spotted a copy of Mary Webb's Gone to earth in the library this week I thought I would give that a go (I think the principle being that if I have read a library copy then I might be less likely to buy it when I see it!).

This is a rural story, telling the tale of Hazel, an 18 year old living with her father in remote Shropshire. We learn about Hazel's rather weird existence, for example, adopting an orphaned fox cub, and her father's desire for her to be married to the first-comer. Hazel does not really believe that this will happen, and is surprised when Edward pursues her. They marry, but the relationship is more like one of brother/sister. The local squire Jack Reddin arrives on the scene and awakens her sexuality.

I reasonably enjoyed it, although it wasn't one of my favourite VMCs by any means, and I shall certainly be interested to read Precious Bane in due course now

This was one of the quite early VMCs, and has been published 4 times with 4 different covers (all above)


  1. I'm interested in Mary Webb seeing as she was one of the writers (along with Thomas Hardy) that Stella Gibbons was satirising in Cold Comfort Farm but, at the same time, I'm not exactly itching to read her although I have heard good things about Precious Bane.

  2. I would highly recommend Precious Bane. Highly original and like Charlotte Bronte, Webb was brave enough to create a heroine who wasn't beautiful. I'd like to read Gone to Earth.

  3. Claire - i remember you mentioning that before, so I shall have to have another go at CCF in due course.

    Vintage - it certainly seems to be widely recommended.