With many thanks to Kelly for sending this ..... Husband dearest was right you can make good friends on-line.
THE COTTAGE TALES OF BEATRIX POTTER: THE TALE OF HILL TOP FARM by SUSAN WHITTIG ALBERT.
In this the first of the Cottage Tales, animal lover and all-around Good Samaritan Beatrix Potter, author of Peter Rabbit, is ready to help solve local mysteries. And with her entourage of animal friends, she sets out to win over the human hearts of Sawrey ......
England, 1905. A Londoner - a female Londoner - has just bought a farm in rural Sawrey. The locals don't know what to make of Beatrix Potter. They've never heard of an unwed woman buying and running a farm. Some meet her with genuine warmth; others keep her at arm's length. Beatrix, recovering from the death of her fiance, believes she can heal in the countryside, a quiet place to work on her children's stories. But when a villager dies unexpectedly, with allegations of foul play, Sawrey turns out to be anything but quiet .....
....... Outer back cover.
FIRST SENTENCE (Chapter 1): It was a splendid morning in October when Miss Abigail Tolliver departed this world - one of those brilliant, breezy days that sets the heart singing and stirs the blue English lakes and the blue English sky into a grand and glorious celebration of clouds and color.
MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 89): "What are they saying?" he asked. Tabitha knew he didn't have much respect for mice and had never bothered to learn their language.
MY THOUGHTS: Part one in what I believe is a series of 8 books, whilst I felt that The Tale Of Hill Top Farm had many things to recommend it there were some things that troubled me.
Not normally one to quibble about the use of American spellings - why should I be when so many of the books I read are by American authors - it did however seem incongruous to me that a book featuring the quintessentially British novelist, Beatrix Potter, should be riddled with such spellings (Color, Organize, Neighbor ...... I could go on but won't).
Not my main gripe though. Not something I will go into at any great length about here BUT given my views on keeping hedgehogs as 'pets' suffice to say the very mention did considerably mar my enjoyment of the book.
Anyway, pet hedgehogs aside. I loved the fact that the animals were given a voice (not that they were understood by humans you understand, only by each other), that their conversations were written in italics so that it was easy to identify that it was Crumpet the cat or Rascal the dog or one of the other animals who was speaking rather than any of the myriad of human characters who by the way almost without exception had such wonderfully quaint names.
A gentle, one could even say, genteel read set in the English Lake District (not 80 miles from where I live). Apart from the cosy mystery at the heart of the story I loved the biographical glimpses into Beatrix's life, of how the author managed to convey that here was a woman yearning for love and independence and yet, at the same time, in many ways a woman of her time, a woman who felt somewhat duty bound to obey her parents wishes.
KEEP IT OR NOT?: One for the shelves but not before I've shared it.
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