Author(s): 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
Richard Mabey is the acclaimed author of some thirty books, including Gilbert White, which won the Whitbread Biography Award in 1986, Flora Britannica (1995), winner of a National Book Award, and Nature Cure (2005), which was short-listed for three major literary awards, the Whitbread, Ondaatje, and J.R. Ackerley prizes. He writes for the Guardian, New Statesman and Granta, and contributes frequently to BBC radio. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.