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Precious Bane [PDF / Epub] ☁ Precious Bane Author Mary Webb – A compelling story of passion with an enduring air of enchantment throughout Precious Bane is a novel that haunts us with its beauty and its timeless truths about our deepest hopes Set in Shropshire i A compelling story of passion with an enduring air of enchantment throughout Precious Bane is a novel that haunts us with its beauty and its timeless truths about our deepest hopes Set in Shropshire in the s it is alive with the many moods of Nature benevolent and violent and the many moods eually benevolent and violent of the people making lives there Prue Sarn is an unlikely heroine born with a facial disfiguration which the Fates have dictated will deny her love But Prue has strength far beyond her handicap and this woman suspected of witchcraft by her fellow townspeople rises above them all through an all encompassing sweetness of spirit  Precious Bane is also the story of Gideon Prue's doomed brother eually strong willed but with other motives Determined to defeat the poverty of their farm he devotes all his energies to making money His only diversion from this ambition he abandons her for the stronger drive of his money lust And finally it is the story of Kester Woodseaves whose steady love for all created things leads him to resist people's cruelty toward nature and each other and whose love for Prue Sarn enables him to discern her natural loveliness beneath her blighted appearance Rebecca West a contemporary of Mary Webb called her simply a genius and G K Chesterton another contemporary asserted the light in the stories is a light not shining on the things but through them Critic Hilda Addison summed up Precious Bane The book opens with one of those simple sentences which haunt the mind until the curiosity has been satisfied It strikes a note which never fails throughout; it opens with a beauty which is justified to the last sentence When the book was first published in in America the New York Times Book Review predicted on some bookshelves we feel sure Precious Bane will find almost a hallowed place .

10 thoughts on “Precious Bane

  1. Hilary Hilary says:

    Set in the 1800's this tale of rural life shows what a hard hard life ordinary people endured It could have been set in medieval times for the superstition religious brutality and the treatment of women children and animals are awful After Gideon and Prue's father dies Gideon is determined to better their lives and at first his character seems uite admirable hard working and driven to look after his mother and sister and not heeding of superstitious nonsense However as Prue observes money is his 'precious bane' and he will strive to auire it at all costs Gideon changes and remembering the opening scene of his fathers awful treatment of his children it's not suprising The description of the English countryside is beautiful and the use of dialect helps this era come alive This book also has hope as well as hardship and kindness as well as brutality Prue is a wonderful character you feel for her immensely throughout the book One of the best books I have read If only there were a seuel I should love to have read about Prue's much hoped for basket of rushes

  2. Corinne Edwards Corinne Edwards says:

    This book was an absolute pleasure to read from start to finish The depth and character development were stunning and you get such a glimpse at human nature at it's best and worst It's almost a spiritual journey after reading you find yourself savoring different passages to find all the truth you know is within them Precious Bane is AMAZING I don't know what exactly it was about it struck me as exuisitely beautiful but it touched me and I finished it feeling like a better person Prue Sarn is such a relatable and sympathetic heroine without ever becoming soppy or whiny She becomes your friend and you want so much for her life to be happy A FANTASTIC book

  3. Rachel Rachel says:

    This is my number one favorite novel of all time I can't really define the reason I love it so much Sure there's the lyrical writing the sweet yet spunky protagonist the gorgeous setting and the best love story of all time But there's something beyond all that which touches my soul I always know I'll be life long friends with anyone else who has ever read and loved this book

  4. Wyndy Wyndy says:

    Let me start by saying this book was not at all what I expected I thought I was settling into a leisurely little classic in a cozy English village with a pining maiden who uietly shoulders her burdens What I got instead was an engrossing gutsy page turner Prue Sarn has now charmed her way in to being one of my favorite classic heroines ever Despite being born with a “hare shotten lip” harelip she’s plucky and wise beyond her years She has a wry sense of humor and a thirst for “book larning” She endures her manically ambitious brother Gideon without complaint even though he treats her “like his dog or his bought slave” She accepts her bane with grace rarely allowing herself a moment’s self pity In fact she soars above it Unfortunately brother Gideon’s bane his ruthless pursuit of money and position ultimately proves his undoingThe title comes from John Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’ and refers to both Prue’s physical deformity and Gideon’s pursuit of wealth Published in 1924 this prize winner reuires patience with the 1880’s Shropshire dialect but it’s worth it because ‘Precious Bane’ contains all the components of a great novel suspense greed lust revenge madness beauty kindness determination humor love it’s all here And Mary Webb’s landscape writing is like strolling through a fine art gallery I admit there is some cringe worthy melodrama in this tale but I closed the book with complete satisfaction 5 unapologetic ; stars because I was uite “smitten” with Miss Prudence Sarn and my first Mary Webb“And even now when Parson says ‘It was the power of the Lord working in you’ I’m not sure in my own mind For there was naught in it of churches nor of folks praying nor praising sinning nor repenting It had to do with such things as birdsong and daffadowndillies rustling knocking their heads together in the wind” Prue Sarn

  5. Dolors Dolors says:

    Being the devoted reader of British classics I am how I've managed to miss this little gem of a book for so long I honestly don't know But beware my dear reader this is not Jane Austen This is a harsh tale in the style of Thomas Hardy or even George Eliot you'll see the characters you so much come to care for struggle in an unfair and prejudiced world and you'll suffer along with themPrudence Sarn is a country girl who lives with her simple mother and her older brother Gideon Maister of the place Prue is gentle goodhearted and has a fine figure along with a sharp mind But she also has a harelip meaning her whole existence is blighted as it's impossible that anyone would marry a girl with a curse like that In spite of her bleak future she makes light of her woes and from very early on she develops a special relationship with everything alive her senses being aligned in harmony with the wild natural world; animals trees and even the wind are her most beloved companionsGideon in contrast with good natured Prue is as ambitious and severe as he is handsome He works hard and slaves Prue to do the same for him to be wealthy and prosperous and his pride prevents him from marrying the girl he loves fair Jancis because he wants to be well off before he gives himself that pleasure not caring if others suffer because of his material whimsBut Prue's peace of mind crumbles down when she meets the new weaver Kester Woodseaves whom she starts to worship in secret not believing herself worthy of him It's up to this Prince Charming to perceive the real beauty of Pruedence Sarn and free her from gossip and hateful stares This was the reason for the hating looks the turnings aside the whispers I was a the witch of Sarn I was the woman cursed of God with a hare shotten lip I was the woman who had friended Beguildy that wicked old man the devil's oddman and like holds to like And now almost the worst crime of all I stood aloneWhat mainly got me about this novel is Webb's capacity to transmit such a crude story in which guilt hatred and prejudice get the worst of its characters as if it was an innocent and sweet fable And in that sense the brutality of the morals which are trying to be taught become evident and disturbing Also the evident contrast between brother and sister between evil and goodness Prue's silent acceptance and her brother's endless thirst to yield power; her ability to be at ease with herself in spite of her faults versus Gideon's incapacity to accept his position in the world; her humble ways his capricious goals As if opposed poles inevitably attracted to each other Yin and yang Dark and light Life and death One can't exist without the other Why it was only that I was your angel for a day I said at long last A poor daggly angel tooWhat also had me bothered for some time is the subtle way in which Mary Webb implies that no one is naturally evil what the characters and ultimately what WE become is the uncontrollable combination of fate desire and chance altogether with their skill in taking the right decision at the right moment This way to view life as a running river whose course we don't have the power to change produced a kind of claustrophobic feeling of impotence with this constant foreboding lurking behind my consciousness that something gruesome was going to happen and that no one would be able to stop it and I'd sink along with all the characters There are misfortunes that make you spring up and rush to save yourself but there are others that are too bad for this for they leave nought to doSo imagine my joy when out of the blue some shinning and pure light came through and gave me hope and a new understanding teaching me a valuable lesson never stop believing in the magic of life because the moment you stop believing you will start fading away only to become an invisible spot of dust in this infinite nothingness which some call existence

  6. Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly says:

    Imagine the English language as a man who had passed through life's many stages from infancy to adulthood This novel may then be considered to have been written in English when the language was still a young boy of thirteen Adding a lot to its uaint charm is the novel's simple rustic setting as if saying that when the language was young so was the world thenThere's a love story here and tragedy and family When she was a young girl the narrator expressed wonderment that her mother kept on telling her father in moments of anguish Could I help it if the hare crossed my path? Could I help it? I too found this puzzling not knowing what it meant until later it dawned on me it has something to do with superstition of which there were plenty during the old times and what the girl narrator is though she be unconscious of it Superstitions which themselves bring informative delightI've never heard for instance of this concept of a sin eater before Of course in the Christian belief system Jesus Christ the redeemer was supposed to have died to redeem the world from its sins Maybe this was what was being faintly echoed in what these old English folks came up with as narrated by the principal protagonist here with her grieving mother her brother Gideon and her dead father about to be buriedAt the coffin foot was our little pewter measure full of wine and a crust of bread with it but nobody touched themThe Sexton stepped forrard and said 'Be there a Sin Eater?'And Mother cried out 'Alas no Woe's me There is no Sin Eater for poor Sarn Gideon gainsayed it'Now it was still the custom at that time in our part of the country to give a fee to some poor man after a death and then he would take bread and wine handed to him across the coffin and eat and drink saying 'I give easement and rest now to thee dear man that ye walk not over the fields nor down the by ways And for thy peace I pawn my own soul'And with a calm and grievous look he would go to his own place Mostly my Grandad used to say Sin Eaters were such as had been Wise Men or layers of spirits and had fallen on evil days Or they were poor folk that had come through some dark deed out of the kindly life of men and with whom none would trade whose only food might oftentimes be the bread and wine that had crossed the coffin In our time there were none left around Sarn They had nearly died out and they had to be sent for to the mountains It was a long way to send and they asked a big price instead of doing it for nothing as in the old days So Gideon said 'We'll save the money What good would the man do?'But Mother cried and moaned all night after And when the Sexton said 'Be there a Sin Eater?' she cried again very pitifully because Father had died in his wrath with all his sins upon him and besides he had died in his boots which is a very unket thing and bodes no good So she thought he had great need of a Sin Eater and she would not be comfortedThen a strange heart shaking thing came to passGideon stepped up to the coffin and said 'There IS a Sin Eater''Who then? I see none' said Sexton 'I ool be the Sin Eater'He took up the little pewter measure full of darkness and he looked at Mother'Oot turn over the farm and all to me if I be the Sin Eater Mother?' he said'No no Sin Eaters be accurst''What harm to drink a sup of your own wine and chumble a crust of your own bread? But if you dunna care let be He can go with the sin on him'No no Leave un go free Gideon Let un rest poor soul You be in life and young but he'm cold and helpless in the power of Satan He went with all his sins upon him in his boots poor soul If there's none else to help let his own lad take pity''And you'll give me the farm Mother?''Yes yes my dear What be the farm to me? You can take all and welcome'Then Gideon drank the wine all of a gulp and swallowed the crust There was no sound in all the place but the sound of his teeth biting it upThen he put his hand on the coffin standing up tall in the high black hat with a gleaming pale face and he said 'I give easement and rest now to thee dear man Come not down the lanes nor in the meadows And for thy peace I pawn my own soul Amen'There was a sigh from everybody then like the wind in dry bents Even the oxen by the gate it seemed to me sighed as they chewed the cudA long uote which gives the idea of what kind of English was it that I was trying to describe earlier direct uotes for me are like movie trailers or food samplings instead of draining one's barrel of adjectives attempting to describe better just present a choice morsel of the thingThis novel transports the reader to another world makes him hear a language strange yet comprehensible introduces him to an unlikely and very unconventional heroine who comes alive in the pages capable of making grown men swoon to her love story everyone knows can never happen but does happen credibly in the hands of this great writer A total of 1050 readers have rated this and the average stands at 426 Which means that very few if any had found any reason to say that they did not like it a lot 4 stars and still many like myself found it amazing 5 starsA used discarded torn treasure which I bought for the price of a can of Coke 20 pesos

  7. Kristen Kristen says:

    I give this book six stars I wanted to begin it again the second I finished it I would never have heard of this book were it not for Goodreads Thanks Goodreads friends This is truly a miracle of a book Set in Shropshire England after the Napoleonic Wars Narrated by Prue Sarn a young woman with a cleft lip or hare shotten lip as it is called in the book The book is beautiful in three ways The writing the Shropshire dialect is so wonderful that I whispered almost the entire book aloud My family thought I was insane It was lovely and delicate Next the content Here is an excerpt from the introduction what Mary Webb author gives us is than the archetypal happy ending of the fairy tale where transformations come to princesses and princes trapped in bear and frog skins where the kiss from one who sees the trapped creature as beautiful sets the real beauty free For when the princely weaver kisses Prudence Sarn upon the spot of her deformity it does not go away she does not shed it suddenly Rather the blemish loved and kissed at last can make her whole and open up the gates of entry to the joys it threatened to deny Thus what is finally evoked in us is than the fairy tale longing that our inner beauty will be seen so clearly it will make us beautiful before the world it is the longing to be known and loved for all our blemishes our warts and wens and contradictions to be let in wholeThirdly the sense of place And fourth the original sketches by Rowland Hilder are phenomenal if you read this get the 1980 edition that has these original sketches reprinted A truly remarkable tale

  8. Cissy Cissy says:

    This novel is unlike any I've ever read but its beauty and strength drew me in You can read summaries in myriad other places so I will just say that the story told in first person is sweet wise tragic and real I give five stars only to books I would 1 buy and 2 re read I had not even finished my borrowed copy before I ordered my own and have already started skimming it again I cannot recommend this to everyone because it is definitely unusual; however I think it is a worthwhile thought provoking read with truly beautiful language This is literature Be forewarned of heavy dialect and atypical vocabulary that will slow down your normal reading pace

  9. Melanie Melanie says:

    A book unlike any I've read before but it was one of the most pure and beautiful stories I've ever read Precious Bane is not a uick read the language in particular made the reading a bit slower it is written in Old English and dripping with 19th century superstitions but it could not have been told any other way Prue Sarn the tragically cursed narrator speaks from her heart and she is what endeared me forever to this book The sentiment of a 'precious bane' carries through both Prue's character and her brother I found their banes to be what proved them and Ms Webb crafts a beautiful ending for the strong beautiful characters of Prue Kester I can't wait to discuss this at book club

  10. Stacy Jensen Stacy Jensen says:

    This is a book that is so amazing that if you don't like it I really don't want to hear about it I only give it those of the race who know Joseph Written in an old English venacular it tells a beautiful story of redemption and love If you love literature this is a gem My ultimate favorite for the last few years

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