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Born at the time of Waterloo in the wild country of Shropshire, Prudence Sarn is a wild, passionate girl, cursed with a hare lip — her ‘precious bane’. Cursed for it, too, by the superstitious people amongst whom she lives. Prue loves two things: the remote countryside of her birth and, hopelessly, Kester Woodseaves, the weaver. The tale of how Woodseaves gradually discerns Prue’s true beauty is set against the tragic drama of Prue’s brother, Gideon, a driven man who is out of harmony with the natural world.

Reviews

Mary Webb need fear no comparison with any writer who has attempted to capture the soul of nature in words
JOHN BUCHAN
Mary Webb need fear no comparison with any writer who has attempted to capture the soul of nature in words
John Buchan
[Webb] was a great mystic and a master of both "inscape" and landscape. Any dull afternoon in London is lifted by being transported to the Mary Webb country of the Shropshire hills and the Welsh borderland
Mail on Sunday
[Webb] was a great mystic and a master of both "inscape" and landscape. Any dull afternoon in London is lifted by being transported to the Mary Webb country of the Shropshire hills and the Welsh borderland.
MAIL ON SUNDAY
Brighter and better than Thomas Hardy . . . a marvellous writer
Eloise Millar, Guardian
With the publication of Precious Bane, a substantial readership came to respect Mary Webb's quiet genius; and it is for this country classic that she has been remembered ever since. When she died at the age of 46, literature lost a voice that promised to speak for Shropshire as poignantly as Thomas Hardy had spoken for Wessex, Emily Bronte for Yorkshire
New York Times