The daughter of a Welsh gypsy and a crazy bee-keeper, Hazel Woodus is happiest living in her forest cottage in the remote Shropshire hills, at one with the winds and seasons, protector and friend of the wild animals she loves. But Hazel's beauty and innocence prove irresistible to the men in her orbit. Both Jack Reddin, the local squire and Edward Marston, the gentle minister, offer her human -- and carnal -- love.
Hazel's fate unfolds as simply and relentlessly as a Greek tragedy as a child of nature is drawn into a world of mortal passion in which she must eternally be a stranger.
Mary Webb's novels, like those of the better known Thomas Hardy, are characterized by the omnipotent hand of Fate. Just as in Precious Bane Gideon's harsh approach to nature brings its own inevitable result, so in this earlier novel, written during the height of World War I, heroine Hazel Woodus finds that the sexual awakening that banishes her innocence brings inescapable doom. Nature at its purest cannot withstand the onslaught of human passion. Hazel has been brought up in the forest, and it is both her beauty and unworldliness that attract two very different men, each of whom will change her life irrevocably. Webb is often described as a 'regional' novelist but at her best she transcends such a limiting definition, capturing with real vigour the natural world and its powerful influence on mankind. (Kirkus UK)
Series: Virago Modern Classics
Number Of Pages: 304
Published: 12th August 1996
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 19.7 x 12.7
Weight (kg): 0.24
Edition Number: 1