Sunday, September 21, 2014

Blue Remembered Hills (1947)

After seven years in retirement the need to divest myself of things acquired over many decades has become more intense. I want to give certain objects new homes where they will continue to be loved. Those are the easiest decisions to make.

But other items have been with me so long that I have to stop and try to remember why I once treasured them.

This morning I chose a book from my shelves that has been with me since I was a child. It is called Blue Remembered Hills: A Novel about a Young Girl by Nancy Stonestreet. The book jacket survives but is quite worn from sitting on the shelf and from just plain age (like me).

The cover blurb says the books was written during the summer of 1945, which is when I was born.

I have no recollections of when or where it came into my possession but I proudly inscribed my name inside the front cover.

My first thought was to search for "blue remembered hills" on Amazon and was surprised at the number of hits. Then I realized why.

Into my heart an air that kills
From yon far country blows;
What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?

That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again.
From A Shropshire Lad
by A.E. Houseman
 I have always loved this poem and this was most likely my first exposure to it. Needless to say that although there is a listing for the book on Amazon, it is unavailable for purchase and there are no reviews. Some libraries still own it although it may be 'in storage'.

I did learn from Google that the author's name was a pseudonym but a quick search revealed that her real name was Lalah Leone Daniels Mead and that her only book is now in public domain. She and her husband Albert Mead had no children according to a family tree I stumbled across. I did find reference to a typewritten manuscript (no longer available) that had been for sale containing her journal writings with the keywords 'death & dying' indicating that she was not well before her early passing on 11 December 1947 at the age of 50. Her book was published that same year.

How can I discard this unwanted treasure?  Instead I plan to read the slight book in the next week. I wonder how well I will like it so many years later?


  1. After re-reading the book, which was very old-fashioned, I realized it wasn't the great story I vaguely remember loving. It was a book of its time, which has passed.

  2. Hi Ann, I just came across this posting, and was wondering if you still have this book, and if so, would you consider selling it? Lalah was my great aunt on my mother's side, and as she is the only other author in the family as far as I know, I would love to have a copy of her book.

    1. I have searched high and low. Apparently I gave the book to the used book store or library after I wrote this.

    2. Hi Ann, Sorry I just saw your response. Thanks for checking for me. I appreciate it.

  3. Kimberly, I am away from home until next week; and to be honest with you, I think I gave the book away after re-reading it. I'll check and let you know.