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