What the Press Say . . .

Surrey Advertiser – 11th Dec 1998 – 'Long-overdue sequel to Lark Rise to Candleford'

'Heatherley' by Flora Thompson. Published by John Owen Smith, 19 Kay Crescent, Headley Down, Hants GU35 8AH. Price £7.95

It was 100 years ago that Flora Thompson arrived in Grayshott, on the Surrey and Hampshire border, to work as the assistant postmistress.
So what better time for a new publication of her so-called lost sequel to Lark Rise to Candleford?
Flora was 21 when she came to the heatherey countryside just off the Portsmouth Road and quickly realised that neighbouring Hindhead had attracted eminent Victorians because of the perceived healthy climate 800ft above sea level.
She met the likes of George Bernard Shaw and Arthur Conan Doyle when they came to her place of work to send their messages via the telegraph machine which she operated.
Meeting such literary giants rather changed Flora's views on her own writing ability, at least for the time being, and Lark Rise to Candleford was not published until 1945.
The best-seller traced her life to the point where she moved from her native Oxfordshire and began a new chapter in East Hampshire which lasted, off and on, for 30 years.
Heatherley, then, is about that second phase of her life, but although she wrote it as a sequel to Lark Rise it was not published until it was included in a posthumous collection of writings entitled A Country Calendar and other works and long since out of print.
Now, with the addition of fresh material discovered in her archives, somewhat incongruously in the University of Texas, together with an introduction by Anne Mallinson, once of the much-missed bookshop in Selborne, illustrations by Hester Whittle and historical notes by the publisher, comes the long overdue sequel in its own right.

Graham Collyer
Bicester Advertiser – 23rd Dec 1998 – What came after the Lark Rise trilogy?

What happened after Lark Rise to Candleford? Did Flora Thompson's fictional autobiography end there?
The answer to these two questions comes with a new publication of Heatherley, described as being the "lost" sequel to the Lark Rise trilogy.
After Flora Thompson typed up Heatherley it was never published in her lifetime and only surfaced when a collection of her prose and poetry was published by the Oxford University Press in 1979.
This was A Country Calendar and other writings that was edited by Margaret Lane, who had published the first biographical sketch on Flora much earlier for the Cornhill magazine.
While Lark Rise to Candleford was mainly Flora's recollection of life at Juniper Hill, Cottisford and Fringford and neighbouring towns at the turn of the century, Heatherley was centred on life at Grayshott in Hampshire where she worked in the post office. And like the trilogy the sequel fictionalised the locations and people.
The new edition of Heatherley has been published by John Owen Smith, an historian and author of Headley Down, Hampshire, following the success of his book On the Trail of Flora Thompson. This told much of the story of her time in Grayshott.
John told me that much of his book was drawn from Heatherley in A Country Calendar, and his own local research.
Since his own On the Trail was published, several readers asked about Heatherley but have found that A Country Calendar was out of print.
John contacted the OUP – original publishers of Lark Rise – who said they had no intention of reprinting A Country Calendar, although it did go into paperback.
However, the OUP were happy for John to republish Heatherley.
In preparing the new edition, John obtained copyright clearance from Flora's estate and retrieved a copy of her original typescript from the University of Texas, which holds her archives.
A new introduction was written by Anne Mallinson, of Selborne, which is in the Grayshott region, and new chapter head illustrations were commissioned from artist Hester Whittle.
John, too, has corrected some mistakes he found in the OUP version and historical notes were added.
"As Heatherley is the fourth part of Lark Rise to Candleford, I believe it deserves a better fate than OUP were prepared to give it," said John.
So what's next?
John told me that he was considering publishing a new and fuller edition of The Peverel Papers. Flora and a friend ran a self-help group for prospective authors and poets called The Peverel Society.
In addition, Flora wrote articles for the magazine Catholic Fireside between 1922 and 1927. Articles that covered the countryside year were published as The Peverel Papers by Century in 1986, which is also out of print. Julian Shuckburgh edited this book and illustrations were drawn from the works of the eminent country artist C F Tunnicliffe.
John Smith believes there is scope for publishing more of Flora's Peverel works.
Incidentally, Peverel Down was the name Flora gave to Weaver's Down at Liphook, Hampshire, in the same region as Grayshott [and where she was living at the time she wrote her Peverel Papers – JOS]
Heatherley by Flora Thompson, at £7.95 paperback, is available from Cole's Book and Music Store, Crown Walk, Bicester

Peter Barrington
Bicester Advertiser – 14th January 1999 – Flora fans to welcome new volume

If your bookshelf already contains Flora Thompson's Lark Rise to Candleford and one or both of the biographies on the author, you doubtless will want to buy Heatherley.
This is described as the lost sequel to the Lark Rise trilogy and as already mentioned in this column has just been re-published.
Heatherley was originally published in 1979 by the Oxford University Press as part of A Country Calendar and other writings, edited by Margaret Lane.
As this has gone out of print and OUP has no plans for a reprint, the idea of re-publishing Heatherley to coincide with the centenary of Flora's arrival in Grayshott, Hampshire, was appropriate. For it brings back into circulation more of Flora's work.
Heatherley in the new edition contains an extra chapter that was not included in A Country Calendar and has useful footnotes by the publisher John Owen Smith.
In Heatherley, Flora again demonstrates her acute eye for people with a number of telling thumbnail portraits. – though in the light of their continued status it was a pity she did not make more of her sketches of George Bernard Shaw and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Flora's innate modesty even prevented her from naming them and she described Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories as the invention of "a new fiction." We must be grateful for footnotes identifying the authors.
Her descriptions and appreciations of the countryside that formed such a valuable part of Lark Rise is also a major part of Heatherley.
Heatherley is a gentle discourse on the life and times of one part of Hampshire that Flora was to return to later in life when her husband became postmaster at nearby Liphook.
Anyone fond of Lark Rise will want to explore this follow-up volume.
Heatherley by Flora Thompson is published in paperback by John Owen Smith at £7.95 paperback, is available from Cole's Book and Music Store, Crown Walk, Bicester.

Peter Barrington
Alton Herald – 5th March 1999 – Author's 'lost' sequel reprinted by enthusiasts

The centenary of the arrival in Grayshott of the late author, Flora Thompson, was celebrated recently with the reprint, by a trio of local enthusiasts, of Heatherley
Described as Flora's own 'lost' sequel to Lark Rise to Candleford, this new edition comprises a review of the original typescript with added illustrations and historical notes, as well as some fresh material found in her archives, now in the University of Texas.
Published by Headley author and historian, John Owen Smith, with delightful pen and ink illustrations by Hester Whittle of Headley Down, the foreword has been written by Anne Mallinson, who for years has sought to promote the work of Flora Thompson from her former bookshop at Selborne and via local literary societies.
Mrs Mallinson, whose own research was helped considerably by the late eminent biographer, Margaret Lane, offers a remarkable insight into the work of Flora Thompson which will add to the reader's enjoyment and understanding of this and other works.
. . .
A delightful reminder, Heatherley may be obtained from most local bookshops. The story is also being serialised on BBC Radio 4. [Actually it was Lark Rise to Candleford which was being serialised! – JOS]
Bordon/Petersfield Post – 17th March 1999 – A new flavour to Flora's work

It was 100 years ago that the young unmarried Flora Thompson moved from her native Oxfordshire to take up employment as assistant to the postmaster at Grayshott.
Here she encountered a far different world from her ancestral rural background, referring rather disparagingly, I felt, to "settlements" as distinct from "villages", as she detected the comparative newness of the place, where most people were not indigenous and where the church had only just been built.
The next three years of her life, in her same rather transparent guise of Laura as in her more familiar work Lark Rise to Candleford, are skillfully portrayed in this new edition of Heatherley.
Originally, this work was published in 1979 by OUP as part of A Country Calendar and other writings, selected by Margaret Lane. This new edition, marking the centenary of Flora's arrival in Hampshire, has been prepared using the original typescript and earlier drafts, alongside the 1979 version.
In addition, the publisher has undertaken historical research into the people and places Flora knew during her three years in Grayshott.
To all intents and purposes, this volume is the continuation of Flora's life story, but she prefers mostly to rename places and people, so Grayshott becomes 'Heatherley' and the daily life and gossip in the emerging village is recorded with her characteristic perception.
In this age of e-mail and telephone, it is difficult to comprehend the work of the Post Office Telegraph with which Laura was concerned. In places to which the telephone was not yet connected, people of those times used telegrams.
Heatherley is a book in which to get lost in vivid descriptions and it is a mine of information about the manners of the day.
Famous people who called at the post office are easily recognised, such as the redoubtable red-bearded George Bernard Shaw, the popular Arthur Conan Doyle and one or two lesser literary figures. Mentions are also made of of Rudyard Kipling and Tennyson.
In the dying years of the Victorian age, modern youth was being spoken of as fin de siecle, pronounced in varying ways, but always with an inflection of disapproval.
Youth also applied to itself the term fin de siecle, as it did to most other things, for it was a favourite catchword of the day.
New ideas and new ideals were in the air and what to their elders appeared as license, they gloried in as emancipation.
Such ideas had not yet penetrated Heatherley and the young women Laura knew "were fin de siecle only so far as having been born towards the end of the century."
This is a book in which to enjoy a variety of keenly-observed situations and topics. There is also a wide review of many nostalgic memories of the age.
Flora Thompson returned to Heatherley as Laura in the last chapter, some 20 years after she left, and found the village "little changed in appearance." She walked among the old familiar scenes like a ghost of the past. Very few people were in the streets of the village and of those few, none recognised her.
Heatherley, which is published by John Owen Smith and illustrated by Hester Whittle, is a book to which I will certainly return.

Roy Kersley
School Librarian – Vol 47, Number 2, Summer 1999 – THOMPSON, FLORA Heatherley

Unlike the well-known Lark Rise to Candleford trilogy, this later semi-autobiographical work was never published in Flora Thompson's lifetime. She was 21 when, in 1898, she arrived in Hampshire to work at the post office in Grayshott, the Heatherley of the title. Unlike the more remote and rural atmosphere of her earlier works, this book, covering the four years she remained in Grayshott, not only gives the feel of a village closer to other centres of population, but also seems much closer in time to the present day. She gives a vivid account of the people she meets, as well as their daily lives, which are far from mundane in many cases and extraordinary in some. What makes this edition of Heatherley particularly interesting is the footnotes and additional material, giving information about the people on whom she based her fictional characters. The publishers have taken great pains to consult Flora Thompson's original typescript for this edition, as well as earlier drafts which include an extra chapter, and thus have produced a fascinating document which could be read both for the story and for the background that it gives to the life of this village at the turn of the last century.

Kathy Lemaire

Order form on Home Page