22 AUGUST 1941, Page 21

Shorter Notices

Miss THOMPSON'S new book is an amplification of her endearing Lark Rise, a book that stood out among the many Books-About-

the-Country by its truth of tone (as in painting). Over to Candleford has the same sanity and solidity ; it is a description of a hamlet, without particular beauty or interest, in the uplands of Oxfordshire, and it is written with that objectivity possible after long love The author writes of her childhood in the 'go's and '9o's and of village iife as she experienced it ; she does so with a proud care not to romanticise. The book is full of sharply focussed detail, in some way connected, one supposes, with the extreme quietness of life: one sees the children stopping their play when a horse and van comes down the road. There was very little money : half a crown was an immense rent for two cottages converted into one, and there was no fire (or fire- place) in the bedroom where " Laura " was born one December morning. " Oh. we were so cold, so cold," her mother would say, telling the story. There were stories, too, of other village characters—the old soldier whose leg had been sawn off at Sevastopol : " And didn't I just holler, 'specially when he dipped the stump into a bucket of boiling tar," and we hear of a wedding too long postponed, " the last time I ever heard of taking round the hat to collect for the cradle at a wedding. It used to be

quite the usual thing. If