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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Over the Hills and Far Away: The Life of Beatrix Potter

Over the Hills and Far Away by Matthew Dennison offers a glimpse into the life of Beatrix Potter, the beloved author and illustrator whose life was circumscribed by Victorian traditions and parents who kept her isolated from other children, whose inquiries into the natural world are worthy of any scientist, whose illustrated letters to children helped inspire the "little books" that are still beloved by millions, who was an astute businesswoman, and who bequeathed over 4,000 acres to the National Trust in an effort to preserve the English countryside.  

Potter was shy and under the thumb of her domineering parents, yet she defied her parents to fulfill her dream of becoming an artist.  

Much of the book was fascinating, but I found the shifts in chronology unsettling at times--since my version was a NetGalley manuscript, perhaps further editing has taken place.  Or maybe I should have adjusted better.  I also found the too frequent connections Dennison makes about her characters (those anthropomorphic and charming rabbits, mice, and ducks) to Potter's life overdone.

Nevertheless, Over the Hills reveals a great deal about Potter and her life, and I'm very happy to have learned about her family pets (lizards, birds, rabbits, hedgehogs, newts), her naturalist efforts, and her stubborn efforts to pursue her art.  

I would like to read another biography of Potter for comparison and because I'm still fascinated by the journey she made throughout her life.

Read in Jan.; blog post scheduled for 

NetGalley/Pegasus Books

Biography.  April 4, 2017.  Print length:  304 pages.


  1. I wonder if my mom would like a copy of this one. She has long had an interest in Beatrix Potter's work and her life. Thank you for sharing, Jenclair.

  2. I am curious about this one. I grew up on Beatrix Potter.