In The Pinecone, Jenny Uglow, the award-winning author of In These Times and The Lunar Men, explores the love, life and craftsmanship of Sarah Losh and brings to life an extraordinary Romantic heroine, a region and an age.
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The Pinecone is set in the village of Wreay, near Carlisle, where a masterpiece in Victorian architecture stands – the strangest and most magical church in England. This vivid, original book tells the story of its builder, Sarah Losh, strong-willed and passionate, an architect and an intellectual who dumbfounded critics with her genius and originality. Born into an old Cumbrian family, heiress to an industrial fortune, Sarah combined a zest for progress with a love of the past. The church is Losh’s masterpiece, richly decorated with symbolic carvings there are images of ammonites, scarabs and poppies, 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.
The Pinecone is also the story of Sarah’s 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.
Award-winning Jenny Uglow (author of The Lunar Men, Nature’s Engraver and In These Times) crafts this moving story of a beautiful and ornate church, a pioneering and imaginative woman, and the changing life of a small northern village in the face of the Industrial Revolution.
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