BY OUR BEGINNINGS by Jean Stubbs

BY OUR BEGINNINGS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Dear Lady Miss I'm not Rich but I'm not Poor neither and Kits Hill is a Grand Place. . . wouldn't you rather live in Your Own House. . .?"" Thus yeoman farmer Ned Howarth actually proposed in 1760 to Dorcas Wilde, a clergyman's daughter rather above Ned's station. And thus begins Stubbs' projected fact/fiction series about her own English forbears. Orphaned Dorcas, penned in with a cantankerous old Aunt Tib in town, would indeed rather live in her Own House, but not necessarily at a lower social status in bleak northeast Lancashire. However, life with Auntie is too appalling, and there are no other prospects for an educated young spinster--so Dorcas is willing. After a raucous wedding and Ned's feeding and liquoring the mainly poverty-stricken neighbors, Dorcas must overcome the stigma of ""foreigner"" among coolly polite and even hostile servants and hands. But as time passes she gains their respect by firm kindness and determination to utilize her useless education--e.g., Dorcas' ""bookfarming,"" to everyone's amazement, produces a fine crop of turnips in a barren field. Increasingly close to good-natured Ned, Dorcas bears three children: a son who will be a blacksmith; a daughter who will marry unwisely, be widowed, and return to Kits Hill; and another son to carry on the farm. That's about it--but there's comfortable talk and considerable data about the century's farming, plagues, and medicine, and the hard rains and mean winds of the country. Likable and plumply domestic--so dynasty enthusiasts who don't demand sensational goings-on should settle in comfortably for the upcoming series.

Pub Date: Aug. 3rd, 1979
Publisher: St. Martin's