As is often the case, my favourite book of the year is one that was actually published several years ago. Eleven, in this case, and the story begins twenty years before that, when the author moves into the Dower Houses at Morville and begins working on the garden. Or hundreds of years before that, when the monastery is built at Morville. Or decades before that, when she’s born. Or hundreds of years before that, when the monastery is built at Morville. Or thousands of years before that, when the Shropshire landscape is formed.
It’s the story of the landscape and the monastery. It’s the story of the author and the garden and her relationship with the garden. It’s about time, measured in days and sunlight and fruit. It’s about people. It raised in me a powerful nostalgia for the place where I grew up, which was not far away, and it observes the changes in society and agriculture with a clear and sometimes regretful eye, but I don’t think it’s nostalgic in itself. It lives too much in the present, and is too conscious of the constancy of change, for that.