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A Field Full of Butterflies

3.5  ·  Rating Details ·  107 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
Gypsy tales from the SUNDAY TIMES bestselling author...

Rosemary Penfold was born in 1938 in a traditional Gypsy wagon, and grew up in the fields of the English countryside. In this beautiful and evocative memoir, she recounts her life within a loving extended family and small but close-knit community.

From early memories of her father bringing home oranges during the war, t
...more
Paperback, 312 pages
Published June 7th 2011 by Orion (first published April 1st 2011)
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American Gypsy by Oksana MarafiotiAnd the Violins Stopped Playing by Alexander RamatiWe Borrow the Earth by Patrick Jasper LeeA Field Full of Butterflies by Rosemary Penfold2003 - Thanks for the Vodka by Harpie
Nonfiction Books about Gypsies & Travellers
4th out of 78 books — 40 voters
A Night to Remember by Walter LordA Traitor to Memory by Elizabeth  GeorgeFirst They Killed My Father by Loung UngThe Memory of Love by Aminatta FornaA Damaged Mirror by Ovadya ben Malka
Memory - Titles
21st out of 91 books — 7 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Christopher
Feb 15, 2014 Christopher rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
Charming memoirs of a childhood in the English countryside. Not so much an expose of the Gypsy life as it is a remembrance of a life well lived with a focus on what's important. Much of the Gypsy aspects of the story are merely ancillary or background to it rather than a focus. And many of the stories don't sound all too dissimilar to stories of my own family growing up in depression-era coal country of Pennsylvania. A book NOT to be looked at as a source for a deeper understanding of Gypsy ...more
Meredith
Jun 07, 2011 Meredith rated it liked it
Informative and interesting, unfortunately neither the author's voice nor the structure of the book captivate.
Sabrina Rutter
Oct 27, 2012 Sabrina Rutter rated it liked it
Rosemary's story of her childhood is at once beautiful in it's nostalgia, and heartbreaking when we have to see those we had come to love leave this world. The kindness of strangers, and the cruel misunderstandings of others are intertwined into a beautiful tale of a Romany childhood.

I did want to address something in the preface of this book written by Sarah Churchill....She was explaining how the Romany life was coming to an end due to the changes in society. She asked, "where are the American
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Maxime
May 25, 2014 Maxime rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book a lovely memoir.
blurb reads
Rosemary Penfold was born in 1938 in a traditional Gypsy wagon, and grew up in the fields of the English countryside. In this beautiful and evocative memoir, she recounts her life within a loving extended family and small but close-knit community. From early memories of her father bringing home oranges during the war, to the simple beauty of a field full of butterflies on a hot summer's day, Rosemary's stunningly elegant narrative captures t
...more
Barbra
Jul 17, 2011 Barbra rated it really liked it
This was an enchanting story of a now lost world of old Gypsy life. Full of charm and humour - a really lovely story.

Back Cover Blurb:
Rosemary Penfold was born in 1938 in a traditional Gypsy wagon and grew up in the fields of the English countryside. In this beautiful and evocative memoir, she recounts her life within a loving extended family and small but close-knit community.
From early memories of her father bringing home oranges during the war to the simple beauty of a field full of butterfli
...more
Lynne
I never really connected with any of the characters and felt it over-romanticized their lives. I gave it three stars because I did like the scenes where they went to school and were first exposed to mainstream culture. It's worth a library read, but probably not worth purchasing. I preferred the novel Fires in the Dark.
Haylee
Oct 04, 2014 Haylee rated it liked it
it was a OK read but would not usually read this type of book but gave it ago. it teaches you not to judge a person of any back ground. as a lot of people do when it come's to gypsy's. they may cheat or con as but they are still a person with feelings. very sad when it came to the gran and dad dying also the blue babies but as they say things happen for a reason and that we can't stay on earth for ever and ever.but i am glad i read it.
Sandra
Apr 11, 2013 Sandra rated it it was ok
Growing up as a gypsy in pre-World War II England was not always easy, as the author can attest. The book is a glimpse into a life of a community of "travelers" who settled in the English countryside, told from the memories of a young girl. Rosie and her cousins experienced bullies at school, while her parents, aunties and uncles got the same treatment from the "gadje," non-gypsies, in town.
Malou
May 04, 2015 Malou rated it it was amazing
This is truly a charming memoir. I am very interested in reading about the Romany culture and this book definitely allowed further insights ino their lives and the way they were treated by "gadjes". Rosemary made her family and her childhood memories come alive. To me it felt like I knew the people myself. She painted a perfect field of butterflies.
Erica Fairs
Dec 06, 2012 Erica Fairs rated it really liked it
A beautiful, lyrical book charting the childhood of Rosie and her Romany family. The countryside is enchantingly evoked and although the story is indeed lovely, the author does not shy away from the bigotry and hardships the Romany people suffer at the hands of others. A delightful read.
Anji
May 20, 2013 Anji rated it liked it
A lovely memoir. Maybe one criticism is that the author used her book a bit too often to have a whinge about her treatment at school, and as the book was drawing to a close, she seemed to keep adding afterthoughts & it dragged on a bit. Otherwise a really lovely look at a Romany gypsy childhood.
Regina
Oct 04, 2013 Regina rated it liked it
Shelves: audio-books
Actually more of a 2.5 (the book needed more editing but an extra 0.5 for the subject matter).

I was fascinated/horrified by the teachers. Unbelievable what behavior they got away with, how unfeeling they were, and how badly they treated the children, how prejudiced most of them were.
Tomi
May 16, 2012 Tomi rated it really liked it
This was an easy read.. lighthearted, funny... the skill of the writer was like one of my grand dad's autobiography... it seemed like she was telling a story, while I sat at her feet..
Wonderfulll I recommend for any one who likes to take things easy
LJ
Aug 24, 2013 LJ rated it liked it
Another book I picked up in a charity shop in Scotland. It's an autobiography of a Gypsy child who lived in England. Although it tells of some of the Gypsy traditions, it also is a more personal memoir. I'm on page 30 now.
Pix
Apr 03, 2012 Pix rated it it was amazing
So simple and beautiful and heartwarming. This book made me want to travel back in time and live right along side the young Rosemary. Also very easy to read. Direct and not at all self conscious.
Chrissie
Aug 06, 2011 Chrissie marked it as maybe  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chrissie by: Lynne
Read Fires in the Dark instead.
Adele
Jan 15, 2013 Adele rated it really liked it
Enjoyed this book a lot. It was nice to read about some other aspects of gypsy life, not just the fighting that similar books are centred around. Some nice pictures inside too.
Elaine
Elaine rated it it was amazing
Feb 13, 2014
Jayne Knowles-smith
Jayne Knowles-smith rated it it was amazing
Jun 29, 2015
Rose
Rose rated it really liked it
Oct 08, 2014
Lauren
Lauren rated it liked it
May 14, 2011
M.T.Wong
M.T.Wong rated it liked it
Oct 11, 2016
Elle
Elle rated it really liked it
Dec 13, 2012
Yvette
Yvette rated it it was amazing
Aug 14, 2016
Joanna
Joanna rated it really liked it
Jul 21, 2012
Liezel
Dec 19, 2011 Liezel rated it liked it
An easy relaxing read.
Julia
Julia rated it it was ok
Mar 09, 2013
Christa
Christa rated it did not like it
Dec 05, 2011
Robyn
Robyn rated it really liked it
Jan 05, 2016
Ches
Ches rated it it was ok
Dec 03, 2013
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