I was drawn towards Tirzah Garwood’s autobiography, Long Live Great Bardfield, because I live near to and have visited it, and also because she was the wife of Eric Ravilious, who is one of my favourite artists.
I thought it would be lovely to have an insight into his life…but as I read a found myself more and more interested in Tirzah in her own right.
She wrote her autobiography whilst recovering from an operation for the breast cancer which would ultimately kill her, in the hope that one day her grandchildren would read it. For all that, she does not hold back or sanitise the story of her life.
She is so engaging that I found myself on many an evening sitting up to read just one page more before bedtime. I identified with her as a mother of young children, and there is a lovely passage where she describes fashioning paper birds as Christmas greeting a which really resonated with me, as I have made my own Christmas cards for as long as I can remember.
Then there is the insight into Eric and his work, and the social history aspect too. I also loved that it was gloriously long, really allowing you to settle in and soak it all up.
A lovely additional bonus to her writing is the book is illustrated with some of her line drawings and prints.
As a Perephone book, it is a delight to look at as well as to read, with the soft grey cover and beautiful end papers.