Peculiar Ground: A Novel
In 1663, when professional landscaper Norris sets out to realize his grand vision at Wychwood, he plans elaborate gardens as others build a wall around the grounds, fulfilling Lord Woldingham’s goal of creating a private refuge. Norris becomes enamored with Cecily, a young woman who keeps company with the mysterious, witchy Meg and a boy named Edward. Meanwhile, tragedy strikes Lord Woldingham’s family, and the wall becomes a lifesaving device when the plague begins its reign of terror. Centuries later, as the Berlin wall is built and, eventually, destroyed, Wychwood’s new family must balance the estate’s established privacy with new calls for public access and threats from the Cold War.
Across generations, as owners, visitors, and groundskeepers live, transgress, betray, and die at Wychwood, the beauty of the estate is ever-present–sometimes a blessing, sometimes a curse, and always vulnerable to the vagaries of human pride and passion. Many have found refuge at Wychwood, but it ultimately does not promise physical or emotional safety. Hughes-Hallett shows movingly that even the most cloistered fortress, the most deliberately constructed haven, cannot protect its residents from a world intent on churning forward.
|Page Count||464 pages|
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