I have just finished watching Season Two of Lark Rise to Candleford produced by the BBC. I missed this series when it was broadcast on PBS but am making up for it now (thanks to my library which has all four seasons on DVD.)
The show is based on the semi-autobiographical novels of Flora Thompson. The action takes place in Osfordshire in the late 1800s in Lark Rise, a small farming hamlet, and Candleford, a neighboring larger market town. The three novels, Lark Rise, Over to Candleford, and Candleford Green were published between 1939 and 1943.
The main character is the indomitable and independent Dorcas Lane (Julia Sawalha) who runs the Post Office (and some might say, the town) in Candleford. I love the scenes in the P.O. with its high counter and its cubicles for sorting the mail. There is a brass telegraph machine, brown paper packages tied up with strings (someone ought to write a song!), and letters written on thick paper slipped into envelopes addressed in the most elegant of handwriting.
Miss Lane's cousin, Laura, comes from Lark Rise to live and work in the Post Office. She is the narrator of the adventures of the citizens of Lark Rise and Candleford.
The stories are not all sweetness and light. So far they have touched on alcoholism, women's suffrage (and suffering), family planning, child and spousal abuse, and (almost) adultery. Then there is mention of atheism, the theory of evolution, and the philosophies of Herbert Spencer.
But mostly, the stories concern themselves with love (both steadfast and unrequited), family, and friendship.
There are some wonderful characters not the least of which are the Sisters Pratt, Pearl and Ruby, who are the dressmakers in Candleford and wear fashionable, matching outfits. And who love a good gossip. Then there is Minnie the inept but good-hearted housemaid of Miss Lane's. And Thomas Brown, the shy but very religious, postman. I especially like the character of Queenie, the 'witch' of Lark Rise, with her herbal potions, hives of bees, and wisdom.
If you liked Cranford (and I watched not only the series but read the book by Elizabeth Gaskell) you will love Lark Rise to Candleford. I plan on reading the books as well. There seem to be some free copies online and there is a Kindle edition for $3.99. Best of all, my library has the trilogy in its collection.
Belle, I love the episodes I've seen of this, but have heard endless complaints from those who find it boring. I enjoyed the books, and will have to get the DVD. PBS has shown this series many times, but I've never sat down and watched the whole thing.ReplyDelete
Kat, it is probably considered boring because there is no endless sex and violence. I like this sort of 'costume drama' because it is pleasant to watch and I know that I won't have to hide my eyes from any gory scenes. I am glad to hear you enjoyed the books and will look forward to reading them.Delete
Did you see or read 'Cranford'? The action there takes place about 50 years earlier than the Candleford stories.
Well, Belle, you already know of my love of this series. You capture it so well in your words here. I like Queenie as well. She is kind and good and respects man and nature in equal parts, though how she puts up with Twister is beyond me, though she loves him, doesn't she? I really should read this series, as well as Cranford, which is such a wonderful series.ReplyDelete
Yes, Penny, Twister is quite a character. I loved the Cranford series. The book is wonderful and as usual a bit different from the TV version. I now have Series 3 of Lark Rise on hold at the library and can hardly wait to see what will happen next.Delete
I loved the series (I also watched it on dvd from my library) and would like to read the books, too. I've also watched Cranford, and have the book on my shelf to read. I think we must be kindred spirits!ReplyDelete
I have just been notified that Season Three of Lark Rise is waiting for me to pick up at the library. Oh goody! I read 'Cranford' after watching the series and it was nice to have images in my mind of the people, the town, the houses, and the fashions. The British do all that So Well!Delete