Book Details

Language : English
Publication Date : 4/20/2012

Format : Softcover
Dimensions : 5x8
Page Count : 428
ISBN : 9781468503364
Format : E-Book
Dimensions : N/A
Page Count : 428
ISBN : 9781468503395

About the Book

When, in May 1835, the orphaned Will Smythe is sent from the Poor House to live and work at Stower Farm, it looks as if there could be a rosy future ahead of him. Elderly Farmer and Missus Stower are childless; and local folk speculate that Will may inherit the farm, one day. These imagined future prospects encourage the impoverished Wyles family to plan for the improvement of their own situation through the marriage of Will to Betsy Wyles, the youngest of Widow Wyles' daughters. All seems to go according to plan, until - as the farmer predicts - the inevitable disappointments and trials of life spoil the picture, in the same way that thistles, and other weeds, spoil a field of corn. This is the story of Will and Betsy's struggle against the thistles in the corn. They discover that there is no escape from Fate: what the farmer calls "the nature of things". Can it really be possible that an impoverished orphan boy and the daughter of a harlot will achieve the status of being Farmer and Mrs Smythe of Stower Farm?

About the Author

Anne Armstrong was born on a farm in Berkshire (England). She has lived in Berkshire villages all her life, except for three years while studying for her teaching qualifications. Her family spoke in Berkshire dialect. When she went to Grammar School in the 1950s, she had to learn to speak and write standard English grammar - a task akin to learning a foreign language! However, she is happy that her voice still carries something of the 'old' accent. She taught in primary schools until she took a break to bring up her sons; then resumed her teaching career in a college of Further Education, where her students could be any age from sixteen upwards. She has a long-standing interest in history and genealogy and has consulted and transcribed baptismal, marriage and burial records from Parish Registers for various villages in Berkshire, Wiltshire, Oxfordshire and Hampshire. This has given her an appreciation of the high points and low points of rural life from the mid- sixteenth century up to the present day. While researching her family tree, she was not surprised to discover that she is descended from a long line of agricultural labourers on both sides of her family. Their achievements amounted to nothing more than the successful rearing of their large families and survival in difficult conditions. Her writing reflects her appreciation of their struggles.