THE LONG ACRE
Moss Trant was born on a Wednesday, at the end of a hard winter. His father had left earlier the same morning, to feed the sheep out on the moor. Henry Trant was wrapped up in coats and a hat and thick gloves on a Honda Pioneer with a Mars bar in his pocket and two dogs breathing down his neck and slapping their tails behind him. In three feet of snow who could say when he would be back.
Aunt Eva was born a gypsy and raised on the road, now she drinks whiskey punch and lives in a shepherd’s cottage on the moor. She always knew Moss would be a horseman, she tells his mother. Maureen is old farm stock, she doesn’t need Eva’s opinion on any of her three sons. At 18 Moss buys an ‘unrideable' blanket-spot Appaloosa from a gypsy horse fair and trains it.
The trekking business that Moss runs with his father brings in more money than the farm will ever make, but when his spotted horse is killed in an accident, Moss swears he will never ride again.
In the spring following the accident, Betsy Rose swings into the yard of the farm in a pair of old leather walking boots. She comes from the city, replaces Moss leading out the treks, she’s a breath of fresh air.
If anyone can persuade Moss to work with the horses again it’s Betsy. But then she starts dating Brett Lynch and her liaison with the family behind Lynch Property re-ignites an old grudge.
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Book. Fiction, The Long Acre
Author: Rachel Francis
Set in: Rural Devon/Dartmoor
The Long Acre is delivered in *Plastic Free* recycled packaging from the Green Stationery Co in Bath.
Please check they still have it in stock before visiting these bookshops.
10 Mill Street, Ottery St Mary, Devon EX11 1AD
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12, High Street,
Bideford, Devon EX39 2AA
Belle Vue, Bude, Cornwall
15, Fore Street
Review: A new novel about rural life by Paul Salveson
Northern Weekly Salvo
The Long Acre by Rachel Francis
Novels about English rural life are fairly common, but this is a bit special. The usual ‘rural’ novel is usually about a city dweller’s take on country life, usually about the perils of middle-class ‘incomers’ coming to terms with life beyond London. Rachel’s novel (her first) isn’t like that at all. It’s about real people who are ‘of the soil’, going back generations. Maybe its nearest similar work is Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s Scots Quair, particularly Cloud Howe. But that was about a very different time, and place. This is now, in England’s West Country, facing huge social and economic stresses from the decline of farming, development pressures and how farming people cope – or don’t. There’s nothing romanticised about it – maybe there could have been a bit more about the landscape and places where it was set. But it works. Buy it!