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Precious Bane

Mary Webb

Book Overview: 

Precious Bane is a novel by Mary Webb which touches on ambition, prejudice and hatred but also on the power of love. Prue Sarn is a farm girl in rural Shropshire during the period of the Napoleonic Wars and is viewed with suspicion by the local community because of having been born with a harelip. Her ambitious and domineering brother betrays her and her superstitious neighbours accuse her of witchcraft. An itinerant weaver Kester Woodseaves, makes his living by weaving for the local people in their homes. Like Prue, he loves the natural world and comes to recognises Prue's inner strength and beauty.

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Community Reviews

Imagine the English language as a man who had passed through life's many stages, from infancy to adulthood. This novel may then be considered to have been written in English when the language was still a young boy of thirteen. Adding a lot to its quaint charm is the novel's simple, rustic setting, a

Being the devoted reader of British classics I am, how I've managed to miss this little gem of a book for so long I honestly don't know. But beware, my dear reader, this is not Jane Austen. This is a harsh tale, in the style of Thomas Hardy or even George Eliot, you'll see the characters you so much

This is my number one favorite novel of all time. I can't really define the reason I love it so much. Sure, there's the lyrical writing, the sweet-yet-spunky protagonist, the gorgeous setting, and the best love story of all time. But there's something beyond all that which touches my soul. I always

A book unlike any I've read before, but it was one of the most pure and beautiful stories I've ever read. Precious Bane is not a quick read, the language in particular made the reading a bit slower (it is written in Old English and dripping with 19th century superstitions), but it could not have bee

I give this book six stars. I wanted to begin it again the second I finished it. I would never have heard of this book were it not for Goodreads. Thanks Goodreads friends!! This is truly a miracle of a book.

Set in Shropshire, England, after the Napoleonic Wars. Narrated by Prue Sarn, a young woman

Rating: 3.5

It’s a long time since I’ve read Thomas Hardy to whose work, Mary Webb’s Precious Bane is often compared, but the novel only feels Hardyesque insofar as it involves a nineteenth-century agrarian community steeped in superstition and in its abundant lyrical descriptions of nature. Far more

Let me start by saying this book was not at all what I expected. I thought I was settling into a leisurely little classic in a cozy English village with a pining maiden who quietly shoulders her burdens. What I got instead was an engrossing, gutsy page turner. Prue Sarn has now charmed her way in to

This book was an absolute pleasure to read, from start to finish. The depth and character development were stunning and you get such a glimpse at human nature - at it's best and worst. It's almost a spiritual journey - after reading you find yourself savoring different passages to find all the truth

This novel is unlike any I've ever read, but its beauty and strength drew me in. You can read summaries in myriad other places, so I will just say that the story, told in first-person, is sweet, wise, tragic, and real. I give five stars only to books I would 1. buy, and 2. re-read. I had not even fi

Set in the 1800's this tale of rural life shows what a hard, hard life ordinary people endured. It could have been set in medieval times, for the superstition, religious brutality and the treatment of women, children, and animals are awful.

After Gideon and Prue's father dies Gideon is determined to

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