Three Extraordinary Years Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5

I have thoroughly enjoyed Bethany’s book about Coleridge whilst at Stowey which was very enlightening of his character and life. I was also very interested to learn that it was while living at the cottage he wrote some of his best works. Highly recommended!

Rated 5 out of 5

A great read! Amazing insight into the three prolific years in the life of an outstanding poet. Set amidst the stunning countryside, life was challenging in the utmost for Coleridge and his family. Very compulsive reading and read it in a day! Looking forward to the sequel!

Rated 5 out of 5

I just wanted say how much I enjoyed reading Three Extraordinary Years: The Coleridges at Stowey – its been a really interesting read. I was glued to this book and didn’t want it to end. Life was certainly very hard for some and at times very challenging when bringing up a young family. Ive enjoyed this book so much I intend to read the sequel ‘The Two Saras’. I can definitely recommend this read.

Rated 5 out of 5

An absorbing historical novel of Sara and Samuel Taylor Coleridge during their early married life, with reference to their past and future.
Bethany’s research is thorough in its detail and her intimate knowledge comes, no doubt, from her experience as a room guide at the National Trust Coleridge Cottage where she has been immersed in the lives of the couple and of their, now famous, friends.
Bethany’s writing shows sympathy and understanding for Sara’s suffering as her life with Coleridge disintegrates while he selfishly pursues his own interests. Perhaps no woman would be right for him, although his fantasies tell him otherwise.
I really look forward to reading the author’s sequel “The Two Saras: Coleridge in Cumbria”.

Rated 5 out of 5

A few years ago I walked the beautiful Coleridge way from Nether Stowey to Porlock. Such a shame this clever novel wasn’t available at that time. It would have been a very good literary starting point.
Bethany Askew clothes the bare bones of known history with a carefully drawn portrait of a difficult marriage. Sara Coleridge has as interesting a story to tell as that of her famous husband.

Rated 5 out of 5

This really is such a fascinating book! The characters are so well drawn, with details that make these historical figures come to life. We can see Samuel’s amazing energy, enthusiasm and charisma, in spite of his sometimes scruffy appearance! He does have his blind spots. He is lucky to have such supportive friends, who can provide some balance. Poor Sara: Bethany Askew shows Sara’s love for Samuel so well, and also all the trials and challenges she has to cope with! I found the Wordsworth sketches totally absorbing. Bethany’s research has presented so much insight into the amazing lifestyles of these poets. Her enthusiasm for the Somerset countryside is effortlessly woven in. We are also shown the wider setting of contrasts with city life and travel abroad, and introduced to many familiar people of the time. This book is a perfect holiday companion for anyone wanting to find out more about this poet.

Rated 5 out of 5

I’m embarrassed to admit that despite spending a lot of time in Somerset my knowledge of Coleridge’s years here was limited to knowing that he stayed at Stowey. This beautiful factual novel by Askew is a brilliant telling of his story and the characters he meets along the way. The struggle to make money from poetry, his desires to travel and his attitude towards his wife are fascinating. Any thought that living in a West Country cottage during the 18th century are dispelled as we hear Sara’s perspective on life as she faces illness, heavy domestic work, loneliness and bereavement. Askew’s knowledge of her topic and her love of Somerset shine through. I’m looking forward to reading the Cumbrian volume.