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The first novel in a saga of indomitable women. Poor, illiterate, mercurial - Jude Nugent is the girl who will make things happen in the 18th-century village of Croud Cantle. She is part of the women around her, yet believes herself to be unlike others.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 384 pages
  • 150 x 230mm
  • HarperCollins Publishers
  • HarperCollins Publishers Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 1 map
  • 0246128011
  • 9780246128010

Review Text

A large, lumbering, English farm country, period (1780's) novel, in which a farm lass struggles against the restraints of class and the double standard. At first Burton's cleareyed view of poverty's treadmill - chilblained hands and stooped shoulders - puts one in mind of Catherine Cookson's opuses; however, Burton (another bootstraps writer) lacks Cookson's thuds of passion and delectation for juicy gossip. Here, the heroine, Jude Nugent, is ferociously high-minded (no toss in the haymow for her), and in spite of tough and proud mother Bella's doubts, Jude learns to read and write. Furthermore, she envisions an egalitarian social order - much at odds with life as it is lived in her Hampshire village, where the local squire (a simp) holds the destinies of families of hard-working laborers in his useless hands. Jude will meet the squire's mistress and find a shocking link to her father (presumably drowned) and to a new sister; Jude will also help raise a loving niece and see her sister crippled in a cruel marriage. And then, knowing all she has seen of marriage, Jude must ponder the matter of matrimony to kind, decent Will, who shares her views on the Rights of Man - but the Rights of Women? An earnest, preachy novel, but helped along by whiffs of rural doings and a stout empathy for the toilers of the earth. (Kirkus Reviews)
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