❮PDF / Epub❯ ☉ Afternoon ofan Autocrat ✩ Author Norah Lofts – 91videos.co

Who was Norah Lofts When did She die This is the second book from this writer I have finished and It is vastly different from the historical fiction She is known for.This is about the devil in a small town and how the lives of the small people is of little or null importance to the rich ones in the same town.I enjoyed the reading but It has an overall sense of unfinished business Maybe She got tired of the book and just published or simply It was intended that way and You are suppose to fill the blanks I would love to have know about the characters.It is not an horror book because the devil is just passing thru this book and not staying I have books from this author so I ll keep reading. Great readI have yet to find an author of historical fiction to compare with Nora Lofts I read all of her books when they were first published and am now rereading them This lady knew her history Her characters are memorable and she has placed them in all levels of the society of their time When she died I felt that I had lost a friend. Sir Charles Augustus Shelmadine Was An Autocrat He Ruled His Village With A Firm But Kindly Hand Instructing His Tenants On Their Crops, Their Children And Their Love Affairs And When He Died And The New Squire Came, The Village Stirred Uneasily For The New Squire Had Strange Ideas And Even Stranger Friends Friends Like Mr Mundford Who Never Seemed To Grow Any Older And Whose Name Was Linked With The Terrible Hell Fire Club And Mr Mundford Was Interested In Too Many Things That Should Not Have Concerned Him Like The Ruins Of The Old Roman Temple And What Happened In The Village On All Hallow S Nightand In The Silent, Amber Eyed Young Woman Called Damask Greenaway The original title , the one Norah Lofts gave it, is The Devil in Clevely and it is to my mind, a far better one The first section dealing with the death of Sir Charles which sets the whole in motion, is indeed the literal death of an autocrat, as well as the symbolic ending of an old era But his death is only a beginning The other alternative title, The Deadly Gift , is equally partial in it s application, referring to the unearthly qualities discovered in the heroine For this is not just about Damask and her life, it is a complex and ambitious tale, at once a love story, a story of supernatural powers, and also the tale of the the great tide of Enclosures in rural England and in it s wake, change, bringing both misery and progress Added to all this is the arrival of Richard, Sir Charles heir from India, dissolute, satiated with life and dangerously open to the influences of what has to be called evil.Sir Richard , his wife, a gamekeeper , Damask the preacher s daughter , and the truly sinister Mr Mundford from London play out their destiny and the battle of Good and Evil in the beautiful Suffolk country side.Great stuff The Story More a sweeping fresco of English rural life at the end of the 18th century than a densely plotted novel, Afternoon tells the story of the inhabitants of Clevely, a small English village, as it is transitioning from the open field to the enclosure system of farming We meet a large variety of characters, beginning with the hidebound, enclosure resisting old baronet, Sir Charles Shelmadine, and moving down the social scale through various local country dwellers to the poor landless cottagers living on the Waste the communal village land which they are about to lose to enclosure Sir Charles promptly dies, and a chain of events is set in motion.The GoodThere are few writers as good as Lofts for painting a picture of English life in a bygone era Not only do the story and characters hold you in spite of what, by contemporary standards, is a pretty meandering plot, but the book is dare I say it educational The mindset of a conservative country squire, the East India Company, Methodism, enclosure, all these and are subjects on which Lofts touches and makes you come away having learned something Also, in spite of quite a lot of drama, the story has a happy ending.The BadAfternoon of an Autocrat has sometimes been sold as a horror story Be warned there is very little horror there, and Lofts is too much of a sensible pragmatist to make what there is very chilling.Historical accuracy10 10 As the patriarch of the all powerful Shelmadine family, Sir Charles Augustus Shelmadine was known by all to be a benevolent autocrat He ruled his little village kingdom with a gentle but firm hand, and was genuinely liked and respected by his tenants for his warm demeanor He kindly instructed his tenants on the best way to grow their crops raise their children and handle their love affairs However, when Sir Charles passed away rather suddenly and unexpectedly, the village stirred uneasily.The villagers main unease grew from the arrival of the new Squire, Sir Richard Shelmadine As Sir Charles son, Sir Richard had recently returned from overseas and seemed quite ready and than eager to take over his father s title However, Sir Richard was an unusually secretive man and the new squire had some very strange ideas He also surrounded himself with even stranger friends friends like the mysterious Mr Mundford.The strangest thing about Mr Mundford was that he never seemed to age, and his name was linked to the terrible and infamous Hellfire Club Mr Mundford was also very interested in many things that shouldn t ever have interested him His interest bordered on obsession, really an almost unholy fascinationwith the ruins of an ancient Roman temple with what happened in the village on All Hallow s Night and most especially with a silent and somber young woman with amber eyes called Damask Greenway.I have always loved Norah Lofts as an author, and despite finding the plot slightly intricate than I was expecting, I thoroughly enjoyed this book I would definitely give this book an A and will certainly be keeping it on my bookshelf to read again. One of my very favorite books as I sure enjoyed the character of Damask Greenway There are two stories in this book and most people prefer the other one but this is much interesting to me I also love the lines about the cuckoo I always think of them in the spring. One of my very favorites Late 18th century I learned about the cult of Mithras Also a supernatural element that Lofts likes to play with. Norah Lofts was a great story teller, and this is one of her best books The background is Enclosure, how it worked and the effect it had on rural communities and, if that makes it sound dull, it isn t, as she had the gift of inventing characters and situations that just keep you turning the pages I know of no other historical novelist though I would be pleased to hear of them who could write so well about the history of ordinary people No writer of historical fiction can claim to understand how people felt in the past, and Ms Lofts writes with a 1950s sensibility, but as I m a child of the 50s, that doesn t bother me Anything that she wrote relating to the post World War II period is worth avoiding, however, as, in common with other writers of the period, her attitudes to class and race aren t so palatable today As in this book, much of her work refers to witchcraft, which is of less interest today than when it was written The enourmous contemporary popularity of Dennis Wheatley s writing demonstrates the interest in the subject.If you want to see how badly this subject can be covered, try or not the truly terrible Wildacres trilogy by Philippa Gregory, who seemeed to be undecided whether to write history or pornography and has found a useful niche in combining both though, to be fair, she sometimes elects to leave out the history. I read this novel as part of a discussion led by Werner at the Goodreads Supernatural Group.I find it s interesting to read books by novelists who reach back in time to write about a former era Hey, what can I say I did it myself with Moonlight Dancer.I think of Nathaniel Hawthorne, a 19th century writer who focused on 17th century New England in The Scarlet Letter I think of John Harwood reaching from the 21st century back to 19th century with his gothic novel The S ance In a previous post I compared Harwood s depiction of 19th century female sensibilities with those of Wilkie Collins.Today, we have 20th century author Norah Lofts writing about 18th century Suffolk, England The setting is a rural community beset with the forces of those who would enclose the common land the landed gentry versus those who traditionally had free access to the land in question the farming poor.Our story opens with autocrat Charles Shelmadine as he travels the countryside atop Bob the horse dispensing ill advised advice to all obliged to listen It s a neat literary device as we thus meet our cast of characters Damask Greenway, her OCD evangelist father, Damask s love interest Danny, forgetful Mrs Parsons et al The author does a good job of world building via a leisurely pace, not unlike trotting down country lanes with Old Bob, inspecting turnip yields and cobblers kitchens However, I did find some of the Amos Greenaway church building ruminations tedious Still, along the way author Lofts entertains readers with her gentle satire.All is torn asunder when Sir Charles dies not a spoiler as this happens early on and sets the plot in motion Enter spoiled autocrat scion Richard Shelmadine and his delightful albeit browbeaten wife Linda Soon, Richard s dissolute lifestyle leads him to unsavory Mr Mundford he who neither ages nor loses at cards Much to Linda s dismay, Mr Mundford and Richard begin to explore the mysteries of Mithras worship Meanwhile, feisty Damask ponders a power all her own The question is, can Linda put all to rights My lips are sealed tighter than the underground chamber chez Shelmadine.Finally, the lives of the community members coalesce in a dazzling, blood stirring d nouement well worth the wait.And, speaking of endings, a cautionary note Our intrepid leader Werner discovered that not all editions of this novel are created equal Apparently, some editions do not include the last chapter Catastrophe Is this some budget minded publisher s ploy or the author s desire for ambiguity All I can say is that I adore Chapter 21 So if, like me, you are a sentimental fool, make sure your last chapter begins thus On an October evening in the year 1798, Matt Ashpole drove home