Cambridgeshire Rectory Book Review

Growing up in a Cambridgeshire Rectory – Book Review

In her book Most People Came in the Back Door, Elizabeth Adeline shares her memories of life growing up in a Cambridgeshire rectory in Little Eversden, where she lived from 1945 until 1966 with her father, Tom Volans, the Rector; her mother, Lily; and her brother, Kevin.

The first thing that struck me when I opened the book was the beautiful illustrations. The book is packed full of drawings by the author, depicting her home, its contents, floor plans of the rectory, layouts of the rooms, and a map of Little Eversden and the surrounding area. They evoke her childhood in a way that words alone could not.

This is a very personal book, full of anecdotes and descriptions of Elizabeth’s life at the rectory, a Queen Anne style house. She writes about the times she spent roaming the Cambridgeshire countryside with her brother, and the idiosyncrasies of their neighbours, domestic help, and tradespeople. The book also follows her relationship with her parents as she grew from a dutiful child into a rebellious teenager. The author has included and annotated some interesting family photos which record key moments in their lives.

‘I can’t recall the bells at the front and back doors, but there must have been bells, there were bells everywhere; in the house, at the churchs, at school and hand bells for carol singing but thats another story.’

Handwritten extract from Most People Came in the Back Door by Elizabeth Adeline

Although this is a book for adults, once you’ve finished reading it, you could also sit down to look at the illustrations with a young child. They will love the pictures, and there is a lot to point out and talk about.

The book captures a time in history when the pace of life was slower, and children had the freedom to run wild. If you would enjoy exploring a slice of Cambridgeshire nostalgia, then take a brief peek at life behind the rectory’s solid oak door with its fine brass knocker.

‘After I wrote Every Drop of Water, memories of summer visits to my grandparents’ farm in Ireland, I knew there was also a story of growing up in Little Eversden Rectory.

Then, after my mother died in 2018, I realized the link with my early life in Cambridgeshire was broken. She had continued to live close to my childhood home, but now I would have no reason to go back. This led me to revisit the world of my childhood in my imagination and tell some stories about my years as a Rector’s daughter.’ Elizabeth Adeline

Cambridgeshire Rectory Book Review

The book is available direct from the author for £10.00 plus £2.00 postage. Click here for more information.

Publication Date 24/06/2020 – ISBN 9781716820465

Pages 50 – Paperback – Square (8.5 x 8.5 in / 216 x 216 mm)

WORDS by Jaqui Fairfax

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