Monday, May 14, 2012

Review: Precious Bane by Mary Webb

Book: Precious Bane by Mary Webb
Genre: Classic
Rating: ★★★★☆
For: Book Club
From: Paperback Swap

Here's a book I'd never heard of until it was suggested (by Kim from Good Clean Reads) at book club last year when we were figuring out this year's schedule. She seemed so enthused about it that there was nothing we could do but add it to our line up!

And I must say, I'm so glad we did because it's quite the gem. So why haven't I heard of this book before? This could definitely go into the category of good books that seem to get overlooked.

This is a story set in England around the time of Napoleon. It's about a family living in a very small farming community with little to no contact with outsiders. But most importantly, it's the story of a girl named Prue who was born with a harelip, and how she is the strength of her family even though the defect was considered a curse. Basically, it's the story of how she watches the downfall of her family and yet rises above it to survive.

The thing that stands out especially about the style of this book is that it's written using the dialect of the time and place. It took awhile to get the hang and feel of it, as these things often do, but once that kicks in, it's a blast. I loved it! Many words are totally made up based on what they sound like coming out of your mouth! My favorite is "tuthree" as in "we saw tuthree new lambs born today!"  (two or three, get it?)

Anyway, there were so many like that that I loved and which I had taken the time to write them down to share.

Not only that, but there were so many profound and deep thoughts scattered throughout! Many wonderful life observations! You know, I'm going to have to read this one again sometime if only for the purpose of writing these down.

Despite the sadness and the tragedy that is the most part of this book, it's also a really nice love story. Because of course Prue, even though she has this deformity, finds love! And you just want to cheer for her and say, "You go girl!"

Bottom line: I really enjoyed it!

Other Reviews:

One Librarian's Book Review
Good Clean Reads
Alternate Readality
Book Nut

So tell me, have you heard of or read this book? 


  1. Did you read the introduction? I read it after reading the book and was sad to find out how this really is such an unknown book. So sad. I hope everyone reads it for book club. That will make that many more people who've heard of it, right?

    1. Jenny: I can't remember reading it, but I will before book club. Yes hopefully we can spread the word!

  2. So, SOO glad you guys picked this one. This is one of my all-time favorites and I try to recommend it often, but it never gets picked up :(



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