Three Extraordinary Years: The Coleridges at Stowey

(6 customer reviews)


“Reading these books was a great way to know more about Coleridge and his life and I found out so much more about him and his family.”

Quote from Richard Coleridge

Paperback 282 pages 129mm x 198mm x 19.5mm spine

ISBN: 978-1-911438-71-7


Samuel Taylor Coleridge lived in the tiny village of Nether Stowey in Somerset for three years. Visitors to this unassuming cottage in Lime Street included people we now think of as giants in English literature: William Wordsworth, Robert Southey, Charles Lamb and William Hazlitt.
Written as a novel, this book explores the ways in which Coleridge’s relationships with his wife Sara and the Wordsworths shaped his work and gave us some of the most beautiful poems in the English language.
This is a story that has everything: romance, friendship, jealousy, poetry, tragedy, rivalries, even the hint of incest. A true story that has been waiting to be brought to life again…

Companion novel to Three Extraordinary years, the non-identical twin, if you will, is “The Two Saras: Coleridge in Cumbria” which covers the four years that Coleridge lived at Greta Hall, Keswick.

While either book may be read independently, you may wish to read both books.

6 reviews for Three Extraordinary Years: The Coleridges at Stowey

  1. Tracy Auton (verified owner)

    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. Thank you Bethany

  2. Judy Peters (verified owner)

    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! Very well done Bethany. Looking forward to the sequel!

  3. Sandra LINFORD (verified owner)

    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!

  4. Patricia Tomlin (verified owner)

    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”.

  5. Nicky Biggs (verified owner)

    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.

  6. Joy Gooch (verified owner)

    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.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *