Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Gone to Earth” as Want to Read:
Gone to Earth
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Gone to Earth

3.78  ·  Rating Details  ·  296 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
The daughter of a Welsh gypsy and a crazy bee-keeper, Hazel Woodus is happiest living in her forest cottage in the remote Shropshire hills, at one with the winds and seasons, protector and friend of the wild animals she loves. But Hazel's beauty and innocence prove irresistible to the men in her orbit. Both Jack Reddin, the local squire and Edward Marston, the gentle minis ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published July 16th 1992 by Virago (first published 1917)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Gone to Earth, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Gone to Earth

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 793)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
This is the first Mary Webb novel that I have read and I am left wondering how I have never heard of her before. The writing was so good, and such a strong cast of characters as you could hope to find in a novel, especially the main character, Hazel Woodus. Hazel is innocence personified, an innocence so pure it is bound to be abused by the cruelty of the world, especially by men with no thought beyond their own gratification. Mary Webb's plot makes a stinging criticism of this senseless abuse t ...more
How has Mary Webb flown under the radar for so many years? Is she the literary world's best-kept secret? Her writing displays a discerning eye and a sensitive spirit. She sees the big picture; she describes the finest details. There are no wasted words. In my opinion, Mary Webb should be ranked right up there with "the best of them"!

This story could very simply be enjoyed as a romantic triangle set in a beautiful and wild countryside -- and enjoyed immensely. But, for those with ears to hear, th
Oct 21, 2011 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not quite as magical and poetical a book as "Precious Bane" but still special and confirming Mary Webb as one of my newly discovered favourite authors. The story is very much a parallel to "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" - the innocent gypsy girl, Hazel, torn between the good and honourable parson who she marries and the rough, rugged squire, who is destined to bring her to ruin. However, reading Tess, it is difficult to get into the mindset of the characters and not to look at the story from a mode ...more
Jul 15, 2013 Sibyl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a poetically lyrical and intense novel.

In many ways the main characters are more like archetypes than the sort of individuals we would ever encounter in the everyday world. Hazel the heroine is a child of Nature - though not Nature in its less gentle aspect. Reddin the local squire who pursues her is all aggression and passion. Edward who marries Hazel but cannot keep Reddin away represents a spirituality that is too far removed from the natural world.

I particularly enjoyed the way the
Dana Loo
Oct 31, 2015 Dana Loo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un romanzo molto particolare di una bravissima autrice che dà vita a questa originale storia che è quasi una fiaba dal finale tragico. La protagonista è Hazel, una ragazza selvatica, naive, in totale comunione con la natura, che si ritrova contesa tra due uomini diversissimi tra loro, divisa tra l'amore puro, spirituale, platonico di Edward e quello passionale, quasi brutale di Reddin, ma assolutamente inconsapevole dell'amore carnale. Lei però nn appartiene a nessuno, se nn a se stessa e a quel ...more
May 31, 2012 Cissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting book, and more compelling than I'd expected it to be.

It's very didactic and philosophical, but the gist of the plot (in modern terms)is of a young and naive woman torn between the desires of a Nice Guy (tm) and a Bad Boy.

It is very clear that neither of them are more concerned about her than of their ideas about her- this is explicitly stated, many times, in the text. She has her passion- for the natural world- and neither of her suitors pay any attention to that.

I will s
Jan 09, 2014 Mel rated it liked it
This book was just a little odd. I must admit I was hoping to like it more than I did. It started almost like a fantasy novel with the wild half gypsey girl living in the woods with her father the musician. The story was basically about two men that wanted her and how she didn't want either but still had to choose between them.

I think the biggest problem I had with the book was that most of the dialogue was written in dialect. It was supposed to sound Welsh but it didn't sound at all Welsh when
Sep 14, 2011 Sylvester rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
1.5* I was looking for "Precious Bane" but came across this instead and thought I'd try it. I liked it a lot for about 3 or 4 chapters, taken in by the charm of the coffin-carving father and his daughter Hazel with her pet vixen and the nature description which was good - and then, well, I thought to myself - this is weird, what's happening, is this girl a wild thing or an idiot? And what's this with the obsession with sex? And then I looked into it a bit more and discovered to my chagrin and m ...more
May 05, 2015 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this as a teenager and loved it. As with any classic, rather wordy and flowery descriptions but such an unusual story with a good moral.
Webb, Mary. GONE TO EARTH. (1917). ***. Obviously, this is an earlier novel from Ms. Webb, but one which does not exhibit the same mastery of prose as “Precious Bane.” This is a romance novel – again featuring an independent woman with highly-honed sensitivities for the environment around her. It is set at the beginning of the 19th century against the background of the Welsh marches, a haunted country, like all border regions. “This is the story of Hazel Woodus, offspring of the mysterious lands ...more
D.M. Dutcher
A friend listed this as a favorite, and I decided to read it. I think he and I though get different things out of it, as I wasn't that fond of the book.

Hazel is a girl-child who is in love with nature. She wanders all around the woods with animals in tow, and loves to sing and dance. She possesses an elvish vitality to her that attracts the eye of two men: Edward, the local pastor who idealizes her spiritually, and Reddin, who lust for her turns to passion. It's not going to end well.

While I enj
Joseph Sverker
Well, this wasn't exactly what I expected. I didn't know that it would be a romantic story à la Jane Austen, and I wasn't in the mood for it either. I have nothing against Austen, and in fact, I really think she is a genius. However, I thought Gone to Earth was almost parodic in comparison. I know that this one is suppose to be a well written book, but I wasn't able to get over the sheer stupidity of Hazel. Except that Webb manages to portray the cruel patriarchal world, I don't find much to han ...more
Jan 17, 2014 Lili rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel, kindle, a
Written in 1917 and using local dialect Mary Webb writes over dramatically about a nature loving gypsy girl, her pet fox and her love affairs. Terribly old-fashioned now, difficult at times to understand some of the dialect and filled with almost cartoon like characterisations - however put it in time and place when melodramatic novels were common; then in all probability it would seem dreadfully risqué.
Aug 21, 2011 CuteBadger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 13, 2016 Merry rated it it was amazing
Very moving and thought-provoking. It's a perfect classical tragedy I think. The more I re-read Mary Webb the more I want to jump up and down and say why isn't this writer widely acknowledged?!!

Stevie O'Connor
This is the second time that I've read this book, which says a lot in itself. I'd forgotten the potency in her writing, the edge and the rawness, the fear and yet incredible, awe-inspiring descriptions of the wild wood and the wilder girl. A true classic, in every sense of the word.
May 27, 2016 Julia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hazel is a beautiful, happy, kind, wild, superstitious, and innocent nature maiden. Two men fall madly in love with her: an arrogant and passionate country squire, who views his relationship with women as that of a horse-breaker, and a kind and gentle young pastor who lives with his mother. Hazel decides to marry whoever asks her first, but that does not stop the other man from continuing to pursue her. Tragically portrays how the evil others do can so deeply affect people's faith in God. I list ...more
What a good love triangle. Very well written.
Dec 04, 2011 Emma rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I have a rule. Any book my Grandma gives me to read I read. She thought I'd like this book given the parallels between Hazel and myself. I could identify a few aspects of myself in her namely her connection with nature, love of animals and her gypsy heritage but that's where it stopped. The book was written pleasantly enough but the characters were predictable as was the outcome of the story. Hazel's childishness, naivety and inability to see the natural world as it really is were rather infuria ...more
Jun 20, 2016 Val rated it liked it
Shelves: byt-main
This is a novella about a partly wild girl and a partly tame fox. I think it is allegorical and hides a feminist message about the 'taming' of women to fit into society (and that might be why Virago press decided to revive it). I did find it a rather mediocre book, nowhere near as good as Precious Bane by the same author, but it is a significant book because of the themes it raises.
Apr 03, 2014 Luisa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: matilda, audiobooks, 2014
Wow. Sorry Mary Webb, this book was not my fav. All told, Victorian-era tales about adultery and illegitimate pregnancies rarely turn out well, so I sort of had a feeling things were going to end badly when Edward took Hazel back for the SECOND time even though she was pregnant with Reddin's baby. But wow, I did not see that end coming. All in all, it was a bit slow-moving, but it did provide some welcome entertainment as I processed application files at work for hours at a time.
May 13, 2014 Christine rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I love some of the purple passages in this book; and I found it interesting both for its story, which was admittedly very melodramatic, and its sociological context. Creating a heroine of the mundane world who wanted what SHE wanted rather than the love of a good (or bad) man was a bold stroke in 1917. I loved Precious Bane by this author wholeheartedly, but this one rather less. Still, a good read.
Jane Greensmith
This is the book that Stella Gibbons parodied in her hilarious Cold Comfort Farm, and it does make an easy target. The prose is purple, the story implausible, and the heroine imbecilic and the heroes moronic. It's interesting to read against a backdrop of Hardy and D.H. Lawrence but very weak and juvenile on its own. I'll have to reread Mary Webb's Precious Bane and see whether I still like it.
Mar 14, 2013 Lynne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author really waxes lyrical with her descriptions of nature, the characters and surroundings, but I felt there was too much padding and not enough substance to the story. The main character was fickle...and very naive for one supposedly so in touch with nature. The author certainly suffers from sesquipedalian loquaciousness, but I found it came over as pretentious at times.
Jul 12, 2014 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
I so loved this novel and "sipped" it slowly to
savor it. It is so lovely and lyrical and unusual.
If you have a great feeling for the natural world,
this book is highly recommended for you.
Jayne Charles
Jul 31, 2011 Jayne Charles rated it liked it
This was like Thomas Hardy mixed up with Jane Austen with a smattering of DH Lawrence and an extra helping of melodrama at the end. It was a reasonable story, but it helps if you like lots of descriptions of nature and fey characters. An understanding of Potteries dialect would help too.
Charisa Flaherty
Feb 05, 2012 Charisa Flaherty rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was difficult for me to read. The author would spend three pages describing some scene and I would space off by the middle of the first page and had to go back to re-read what i missed. Although someitmes I just skipped it. I have no need to read anything else by Mary Webb.
May 22, 2013 Vanessa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
I have mixed feels about this book. It made me really uncomfortable to read. It's a little rape-y and I think that was the point? I'm not sure. I'm going to have to think about it some more. I'm kinda glad that it's done. I don't think I'll be rereading it any time soon.
May 23, 2012 Dawn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was hard for me to rate, part of me wanted to give it 4 stars but I held back because I found myself wanting it to be over just to see how things turned out, not because I was totally enjoying it. I like Precious Bane by this author way more.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 26 27 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Good Companions
  • Anderby Wold
  • Devoted Ladies
  • Mary Olivier, a Life
  • Frost in May
  • The Diary of a Provincial Lady
  • Phoebe Junior (Chronicles of Carlingford, #6)
  • The Shutter of Snow
  • The Echoing Grove
  • A Game of Hide and Seek (Virago Modern Classics)
  • The Daisy Chain, Or, Aspirations: A Family Chronicle
  • Illyrian Spring
  • A Compass Error
  • The Semi-Attached Couple and the Semi-Detached House
  • The Land of Spices
  • Cousin Rosamund (VMC)
  • A Pin To See The Peepshow

Mary Webb (1881-1927) was an English romantic novelist of the early 20th century, whose novels were set chiefly in the Shropshire countryside and among Shropshire characters and people which she knew and loved well. Although she was acclaimed by John Buchan and by Rebecca West, who hailed her as a genius, and won the Prix Femina of La Vie Heureuse for Precious Bane (1924), she won little respect f
More about Mary Webb...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“[...]we are all as full of echoes as a rocky wood--echoes of the past, reflex echoes of the future, and echoes of the soil (these last reverberating through our filmiest dreams, like the sound of thunder in a blossoming orchard).” 5 likes
“You wasn't made like watch-dogs and house-cats and cows. You was made a fox, and you be a fox, and its queer-like to me, Foxy, as folk canna see that. They expect you to be what you wanna made to be. You'm made to be a fox; and when you'm busy being a fox they say you'm a sinner!” 3 likes
More quotes…