Last Read of 2022: The Twisted Tree by Frank Baker (1935)

Oh, my dear Lord! thought Tansy. What are we all here for at all, if it’s nothing but a long walk from cradle to grave?

I had wanted to read more of British author Frank Baker since the time I read his intriguing Miss Hargreaves. Finally, I was able to get a copy of his first novel, The Twisted Tree.

Taney Penderil, an imaginative young girl, living with her two brothers and parents in a rain-soaked part of Cornwall county finds herself stifled in a land where men are either farmers or miners. Her soul yearns for something big and vast. One day, while trying to get a blackthorn branch, she loses her footing and is rescued by artist Roger Chailey, a visitor to the village. Taney finds herself attracted towards the devilish, immoral Chailey though she is unofficially engaged to an ordinary, young miner Arthur Porgis. Meanwhile, her mother becomes sick and wants nothing more than to see Taney married. So much against her wish, Taney marries Arthur though before that she consummates her relationship with Roger.

In the second half of the book, we find Taney unhappily married to the now out-of-work conventional emasculated Arthur. Nor does she have any love for her stodgy daughter, Alice. In fact, she seems to live for and love only David, her son from Roger. Mother and son share an uncomfortable relationship with an incestuous slant to it (ugh!). Both of them want to get out of the boring domesticity of the Porgis household and an opportunity presents itself but will they be able to.

There are some beautiful lines: Gazing into the fire she saw a creeping flame hiss and curl under the coals (119), and But it was sweet to dream of a time when life had been a looking-forward. Now so often , it was a looking-backward (63) but the problem I had with the novel, besides the pacing, was with the character of Taney. The author wants us to sympathize with her and her predicament but her opinionated self-righteousness, her contempt and disdain for others were too off-putting. I could not empathize with her at all and I was horrified by her last act.


First Line: Towards the end of April a black east wind that had kept old people indoors and chilled the hands and hearts of young ones, ceased as suddenly it had begun, and left the louds grey and heavy for rain.

Publication Details: 1935. London: Peter Davies, 1935

Dedicated: For SYDNEY where he is…

Pages: 320


Glad that I finished the novel this year. Want to start 2023 with something cheering. Thanks to all those who visited the blog, liked the posts, and took the trouble to leave comments. Here’s wishing all of you a very happy 2023.


14 thoughts on “Last Read of 2022: The Twisted Tree by Frank Baker (1935)

  1. Those do sound like very off-putting characters, Neeru. I don’t believe I would warm to them at all. I can see why you had no sympathy there. And uneven or slow pacing can really pull one out of a story. I think I’ll give this one a miss…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like that second quote! Sorry the book didn’t turn out a complete success though. Taney doesn’t sound like someone one can sympathize with as you say.
    Wish you a happy new year 2023! Looking forward to reading more of your posts Nd picking up some recommendations 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That second quote is my favourite too, Mallika. Tansy was very irritating. Wishing you and your loved ones a very Happy 2023 too and I am also looking forward to your posts and recommendations 😄

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sorry to hear the final book of the year was not a hit for you, onward to new literary adventures! My return to blogging has hit a snag where I need to transfer it to another platform. After many delays I look forward to the new year, leaving the tumult and confusion behind. A new house, a new town, new work, new friends – a new year. And if that dedication was not meant for me, I’m taking it anyway!
    All the best to you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Eden. It’s always a pleasure when you visit the blog. Sorry to hear about the snag. When I returned to blogging, I shifted from Blogger to WordPress and have been happy about the shift. You could give it a try too. It’s good to see this optimism in you and I wish you the very best in the coming year…and all the years to follow.


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