• Various/Onna Carr

Magic Trees and Country Years

Updated: Oct 28, 2019

Post by Onna Carr

This winter, I have been reading The Magic Apple Tree: a Country Year by Susan Hill with engravings by John Lawrence. The Magic Apple Tree: a Country Year is a "delightful" read, as a previous owner of the book had written on the cover page with a flourish. Ms. Hill divides her book into four seasons: "Winter," "Spring," "Summer," and "Autumn." These four seasons are then subdivided into chapters.

The Magic Apple Tree: a Country Year starts with Ms. Hill's family's acquisition of Moon Cottage and recalls their process of remodeling and restoring their house into a home and their joy in exchanging town life for country/village life. I love the way Ms. Hill so lovingly writes of her cottage and how the Magic Apple Tree in front of the cottage provides a focal point throughout the seasons in her work.

Ms. Hill captures the traditions of rural England in-between the pages of her book from Guy Fawkes Day bonfires with yearly trash burning and sausage rolls to caroling and the fact that holly trees are rare since most were pulled out after WWI and not replanted. The inclusion of recipes ranging from her mother's Apple Cake taken from a WWII-era Women's Institute Cookbook that was very similar to my great-grandmother Grace's recipe created around the same time in the United States to creamed, red cabbage make this volume even more endearing.

Mr. Lawrence's engravings make The Magic Apple Tree: a Country Year hearken the work back to earlier era than the book's 1982 publication date. Overall, I am finding The Magic Apple Tree: a Country Year a nice, winter read to enjoy with a cup of tea that is perfect for the obsessive anglophile or cottage lover!

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