Header overlay
Over to Candleford & Candleford Green (No. 59)
SFE No. 59: Flora Thompson, Over to Candleford & Candleford Green
Flora Thompson, Lark Rise & Over to Candleford and Candleford Green - Slightly Foxed Editions
  • ISBN: 9781910898697
  • Pages: 400
  • Dimensions: 110 x 170mm
  • Publication date: 1 June 2022
  • Producer: Smith Settle
  • Genre: Memoir
  • Binding: Cloth hardback
  • Trimmings: Coloured endpapers; silk ribbon, head- & tailband; gold blocking to spine; blind blocking to front
  • NB: Hand-numbered limited edition of 2,000
  • Preface: Hazel Wood
  • Number in SFE series: 59
Made in Britain

Over to Candleford & Candleford Green (No. 59)

Flora Thompson

SF Subscriber Prices

UK & Ireland £18 *save £2.00
Overseas £20 *save £2.00

Non-Subscriber Prices

UK & Ireland £20
Overseas £22
  • Gift wrap available
  • In stock
  • All prices include P&P. Overseas rates & subscriber discounts will be applied once you have selected a shipping type for each item during the checkout process.
  • Special price only available when ordering directly from Slightly Foxed
● If you are a current subscriber to the quarterly your basket will update to show any discounts before the payment page during checkout ● If you want to subscribe now and buy books or goods at the member rate please add a subscription to your basket before adding other items

The first volume of Flora Thompson’s much-loved trilogy, Lark Rise (SFE No. 58), recreates in lightly fictionalized form her childhood in the Oxfordshire hamlet of Juniper Hill (Lark Rise of the title). Though it was written almost half a century after the events it describes, the hamlet is recalled in minute and magical detail, a close-up, child’s-eye view of a small, self-sufficient world bounded by cornfields and peopled by familiar characters.

In its sequel, Over to Candleford, life begins to open out for Flora – or Laura as she calls her childhood self – as she leaves Lark Rise for the first time to visit her father’s family in Candleford, the local market town. Here she is introduced to the households of her two uncles – James, a prosperous builder and pillar of the Temperance movement, and Tom, a liberal thinker and respected craftsman whose workshop produces ladies’ made-to-measure shoes and hunting boots. Both have done well for themselves, but there the likeness ends, for in the first family Laura feels overwhelmed by the grand house and rich food, and patronized by her more sophisticated – not to say pretentious – cousins, while in the second all is generosity, warmth and welcome, and over time and successive visits she forms a special bond with her Uncle Tom, for they both love reading and he introduces her to books and to unusual people – known to the family as Tom’s ‘queer fish’– whom she would never have met in Lark Rise.

The close of this second book finds teenage Laura at home once more, unhappy and undecided about her future. Fortunately the decision is made for her by a letter from an old friend of her mother’s, who runs the Post Office in a village a few miles from Candleford and is looking for an assistant. This is the setting for Candleford Green, an enchanting portrait of a village community and of Dorcas Lane, Laura’s redoubtable new employer with her well-ordered household, high standards and firm traditional views. This is Laura’s first real step out into the world, and an ideal situation for a budding writer, for the whole colourful society of Candleford Green passes daily through the Post Office. Flora’s ability to catch the telling detail brings them vividly alive: Old Mr Stokes, the church organist and cabinet-maker who still worked at his trade ‘with his long lean form swathed in a white apron and his long white beard tucked into his waistcoat’; mysterious Mrs Macey the postwoman, who ‘instead of plodding or sauntering country fashion, walked firmly and quickly, as if with a destination in view’. And Flora saw into the hearts of those around her, observing of Mrs Macey that though some villagers called her sour-looking ‘anyone with more penetration would have known that she was not sour but sad’.

Flora wrote these two final books of the trilogy in the dark days of the Second World War, and perhaps it was partly this that made her happy memories of this period in her life shine so brightly. Soon Candleford Green would become a mere suburb and the old self-sufficient life of the hamlet would disappear, but for us they are still there as they were during those last decades of the nineteenth century, captured for ever by Flora’s understanding heart and the beautiful economy of her writing.

‘Thompson must have recognized that the interest in her Juniper Hill tales was largely nostalgic, but she also wrote to redress the huge public ignorance about the lives of the rural poor – a way of living that she had run away from only to look back and see had all but disappeared . . . [The Lark Rise to Candleford trilogy] strengthens the collective dream of country life while attempting to correct it; its existence is testament to progress but also to its cost, to dreams that proved disappointing.’ Alice Spawls, London Review of Books

An Understanding Heart

I can’t remember when I first read the magical trilogy that came to be known as Lark Rise to Candleford but, turning to it for comfort during the days of the 2020 lockdowns, I was struck afresh by...

Read more

On Juniper Hill

Flora Thompson’s Lark Rise has always felt like home. A romantic notion, perhaps, from someone brought up in the 1970s and ’80s, rather than a century ago, as Flora was. I first read it when I...

Read more

‘Flora Thompson’s writing excels in her descriptions of nature’

‘Over to Candleford and Candleford Green form the second and third part of the semi-autobiographical account of Flora Thompson’s early experiences in rural Oxfordshire, of which Lark Rise is the...

Read more

Comments & Reviews

Leave your review

  1. ‘For the bibliophile, Laura’s descriptions of the books she encountered and loved are particularly interesting. Laura describes the joy of taking a library ticket at the Mechanic’s Institute in Candleford and enjoying the works of Dickens, the Waverley novels, Barchester Towers and Pride and Prejudice, sparking a life long love for the books of Trollope and Austen.

    Everything is most keenly observed, both the characters, and the descriptions of the pastimes and occupations of the people in Laura’s life. But Flora Thompson’s writing excels in her descriptions of nature and the outdoors, something that is beautifully written about on the walks that Laura took, on the daily postal delivery rounds – a responsibility given to her, after some time at the Post Office.’

Similar Items

Sign up to our e-newsletter

Sign up for dispatches about new issues, books and podcast episodes, highlights from the archive, events, special offers and giveaways.