Book Review: A Month In The Country by J.L. Carr

Sincerely Loree: A Month in the Country

Book Blurb

Tom Birkin, a damaged survivor of the First World War, finds refuge in the quiet village church of Oxgodby, where he is to spend the summer uncovering a huge medieval wall-painting. Immersed in the peace and beauty of the countryside and the unchanging rhythms of village life, he experiences a sense of renewal and belief in the future. Now an old man, Birkin looks back on the idyllic summer of 1920, remembering a vanished place of blissful calm, untouched by change, a precious moment he has carried with him through the disappointments of the years.

My Review

This is a wonderful little book with a great sense of time and place. The author writes beautifully about an era that is long since forgotten. His evocative descriptions conjure images of a bucolic existence that calms the senses and soothes away the weariness and irritability that seem to be a normal facet of modern existence. A Month In The Country is seeped with layers of nostalgia that remind us of a simpler, more wholesale time, when men who had been broken by the horrors of war, who had faced the hell that was Passchendaele and Flanders and the Somme, felt again the stirring of hope and a belief in themselves and their fellow men.

“The first breath of autumn was in the air, a prodigal feeling, a feeling of wanting, taking, and keeping before it is too late.”

This is not a plot driven story but it is a superb and satisfying read with moments of poignancy that will be appreciated by more mature readers. It is a story about an idyllic summer, a moment in time that will never be forgotten but which will never come again; an invitation to think back on our own past summers and to gather the memories, like beads on a bracelet, and hold them close to our hearts.

“We can ask and ask but we can't have again what once seemed ours forever—the way things looked, that church alone in the fields, a bed on a belfry floor, a remembered voice, the touch of a hand, a loved face. They've gone and you can only wait for the pain to pass."

From beginning to end I loved this gentle, tender book. I know it will be one that I return to when the woes of this modern world seem too hard to bear and I can look back at these contemporaries of my great-grandparents, trying to reach out across the chasm of time by letting the words of this book act as a bridge to that all but forgotten time.

Sincerely Loree: A Month in the Country

I highly recommend this book. Please read it if you get a chance. You will not be disappointed.

Genre: historical fiction

First published: 1980

Location: Oxgody (fictional), England

Awards: Booker Prize Nominee (1980), Guardian Fiction Award (1980)

Goodreads rating: 4.12 ⭐

My rating: 4.9 ⭐


  1. Thank you! I will put the title on my list. A nice book to read that's not a creepy thriller mystery is much needed on my reading list.

    1. No creepy thrillers with this one. Just a throwback to a bygone era.


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