Berkley, Oct 2004, 22.95, 304 pp.
The inhabitants of Near Sawrey in England's Lake District are agog because outsider Beatrix Potter has bought Hill Top Farm out of royalties she received for her popular books. Beatrix seeks a new start in life because her believed recently died one month after their engagement. While recovering, she also needs to hide from her overbearing parents who see her as a servant and lady of the manor when her mom is ill, which is often.
Her first impression of the village is that it is quiet and its residents seem contented. As she becomes acquainted with the villagers, Beatrix realizes gossip spreads faster than the wind so that a newspaper is unnecessary to keep up with the day's happenings. The longer she stays in Near Sawrey, the more Beatrix gets caught up in the daily flow of life here. Soon she tries to figure out where a missing painting, The Parish Register and the School, could have gone and who purloined them.
THE TALE OF HILL TOP FARM enables readers to obtain a deep look at the early twentieth century author who wrote the whimsical hopping The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter. Ms. Potter's works are similar to that of Rita Mae Brown with animals talking to one another and influencing human behavior. There is a historical essence to the tale so that fans feel they are in a quaint English village circa 1905 with a star breaking the taboo of a woman alone moving in with the locals. Susan Wittig Albert provides a fabulous historical fictional tale.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner