The Pinecone: The Story of Sarah Losh, Forgotten Romantic Heroine--Antiquarian, Architect, and Visionary

The Pinecone: The Story of Sarah Losh, Forgotten Romantic Heroine--Antiquarian, Architect, and Visionary - Jenny Uglow I won this books through a Goodreads Giveaway, which does not impact my review.



When I read a biography about a woman I tend to suspect that I will also be reading about her family, specifically her male relatives, because of the fact that more often than we want, women's lives were recorded in relation to the men the lives. If a historian encounters letters, or even better a diary, written by their female subject they are lucky. Otherwise they have to sift through countless records looking for the even the most minute evidence of the woman's name, or a relative, or a place, etc. before finally deciding if this record is even relevant. Considering that Sarah Losh burned her diaries and that she was fairly unknown outside her locale, Jenny Uglow had to do quite a bit of sifting.
Unfortunately, a lot of the content Uglow included, to me anyway, seemed to lack some relevancy to the story of Sarah Losh and her church, especially in the first half of the book. When this happens, it feels like you're reading filler. The strongest parts of The Pinecone were when Uglow wrote about what would later influence Sarah's plans for her church at Wreay, and then when she began the construction of her church. Sarah's visit to Pompei was great to read about, not only because we had a first person account to go off of, but because through her personal account you could see the seed being planted in Sarah's brain which would sprout and influence the design of the church in Wreay. I really wanted to rate this book higher, because Sarah Losh is as deeply fascinating as her architecture, but there were just too many pages that seemed like they were in the wrong biography.