Books by Jeanine McMullen

Released: Oct. 28, 1991

``It is spring again in the valley,'' and for BBC radio host McMullen, time for further vibrant episodes in her personal and professional quest for the breadth of country lore. ``Little has changed but much has happened'' since My Small Country Living (1984) and Wing in the Ash Tree (1988) were published. McMullen's mother, ``Mrs P,'' still challenges the author's superstitions with her own; their animals still act out in unpredictable ways; and the Australian-born interviewer continues to travel through the British Isles finding memorable eccentrics on every back road. Willing to tell her tape recorder, ``Gert,'' what a friend calls ``God Wotted'' stories, McMullen's subjects ramble on entertainingly about rat-catching or local legends or the weather (``When it snows, we gets it''). There's an artist who paints only chickens, a fellow who breeds Old English game, and a family that repairs rocking horses. Some, like Lady Betjeman, are famous, while others, like a neighbor with ``a laugh like Father Christmas,'' stand out close to home. Writing in a seductive, breathless style, McMullen never fails to observe the singular natures before her, despite enduring travel hardships and serious crises at home. Toward book's end, Mrs. P must leave their Welsh farmhouse for a more hospitable Australian home, but the author stays on. Much in the manner of James Herriot, McMullen brings to print a record of the interchange between animals and their small-farm families. And going farther, she looks at the passions of unique craftsmen and special-interest amateurs and includes a sense of the vagaries of radio-show production. Even if you don't know a whistle stick from a thistle stick, you'll find this one glows. (Eight pages of full-color illustrations.) Read full book review >