REVIEW: Beauty in Thorns – Kate Forsyth

Beauty in Thorns

 

Beauty in Thorns – Kate Forsyth

 I love Kate Forsyth’s writing and when Beauty in Thorns was released I couldn’t wait to read it.

It is a story set around the Pre-Raphaelite circle of artists and poets, including William Morris, Edward Burne-Jones and Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

For many years, I’ve adored their wonderful paintings, so I knew I’d love getting lost in their tumultuous world. I discovered there was so much I hadn’t known about their work and their relationships. Kate Forsyth brings to life their story of love and heartbreak with such care and beauty.

I also loved learning about the women in this circle. Lizzie Siddal, Georgie (Georgiana) Burne-Jones nee Macdonald, Jane Morris nee Burden, and later in the novel Margot Burne-Jones the daughter of Georgie and Ned (Edward)Burne-Jones. I was especially moved by Lizzie Siddal’s tragic life. I think I admired Georgie’s stoicism the most.

Kate Forsyth’s research is excellent and her story telling is superb. If you haven’t read Beauty in Thorns as yet, I highly recommend it.

If you’re unfamiliar with the art of the Pre-Raphaelites, it will add to your appreciation of this book if you look up some of their paintings.

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William Wordsworth ‘Daffodils’

Daffodills & birdsThe first photo is a page from a book of mine, titled ‘The Nature Notes of an Edwardian Lady’ by Edith Holden.
The birds are a Chaffinch and a Hedge Sparrow.

The daffodils make me think of William Wordsworth’s poem, which I’ve always loved. ‘I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.’ (Also commonly known as ‘Daffodils’)

The poem was inspired by an event on 15 April 1802, in which Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy came across a “long belt” of daffodils.

‘I wandered lonely as a cloud
floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed–and gazed–but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.’
William Wordsworth (1815)

Wordsworth revised the poem in 1815. He replaced “dancing” with “golden”; “along” with “beside”; and “ten thousand” with “fluttering and”. He then added a stanza between the first and second, and changed “laughing” to “jocund”. The last stanza was left untouched.
(The Wordsworth Museum & Art Gallery. Retrieved 23 December 2009.)

 

Daffodills - 220px-William_Wordsworth_-_I_wandered_lonely_as_a_cloud - A hand-written manuscript of the poem (1802). British Library Add. MS 47864[1]The second image is a hand-written manuscript of the poem (1802). British Library Add. MS 47864[1]

Although I’m not writing poetry at present, I have always loved it. My novella ‘Love The Gift’ is inspired by Tennyson’s poem ‘The Miller’s Daughter.’