Sarah Losh is a lost Romantic genius - antiquarian, architect and visionary.
In the village of Wreay, near Carlisle, stands the strangest and most magical church in Victorian England. This vivid, original book tells the story of its builder, Sarah Losh, strong-willed and passionate and unusual in every way.
Born into an old Cumbrian family, heiress to an industrial fortune, Sarah combined a zest for progress with a love of the past. In the church, her masterpiece, she let her imagination flower - there are carvings of ammonites, scarabs and poppies; an arrow pierces the wall as if shot from a bow; a tortoise-gargoyle launches itself into the air. And everywhere there are pinecones, her signature in stone. The church is a dramatic rendering of the power of myth and the great natural cycles of life and death and rebirth.
Sarah's story is also that of her radical family - friends of Wordsworth and Coleridge; of the love between sisters and the life of a village; of the struggle of the weavers, the coming of the railways, the findings of geology and the fate of a young northern soldier in the Afghan war.
Above all, though, it is about the joy of making and the skill of local, unsung craftsmen. Intimate, engrossing and moving, The Pinecone brings to life an extraordinary woman, a region and an age.
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