A VILLAGE GIRL: Memoirs of a Kentish Childhood by Sarah Shears

A VILLAGE GIRL: Memoirs of a Kentish Childhood

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R. F. Delderfield concludes his laudatory introduction with a damp if stately flourish, quoting Gray's tribute to the ""short and simple annals of the poor""; but Sarah Shears' account of her Kentish girlhood circa 1916-25 has the appeal of decidedly genteel poverty. No Catherine Cookson she -- an urchin bearing grog to an alcoholic mum, but rather a cherished second child in a soon-to-be fatherless family and with a loving, decorous mother who insisted on clean handkerchiefs, politeness, and proper behavior. The author records events with serene and gentle warmth -- Father's fabulous return from the war, the tragedy of his departure again, and the news of his death; hop-picking and the exhilarating influx of gypsies and Cockneys; memorable Christmases; a brief, humiliating period of domestic service; a fleeting but glorious crush on the family's gentle lodger, ""Uncle"" John; and visits to a prosperous, adored grandmother and her five unmarried daughters. It's all fairly sunny and brightly turned out for those attuned to pinafored nostalgia.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1971
Publisher: Simon & Schuster