Anthologies are always worth a look because, at the very least, you can rely on the compiler to have done a lot of work in sifting and selecting and, yes, discarding, to arrive at their final selection. And this is quite a tome with 400+ pages of selections and another 50+ pages of notes and acknowledgements.
The 100+ women writers range from Julian of Norwich (fourteenth century) to many present day authors and poets. They are arranged alphabetically and so one has the pleasure of moving through the book from, for example, Enid Blyton’s description of children finding a slow worm from her The Mountain of Adventure (Dinah, it’s not a snake! It’s a lizard – a legless lizard – quite harmless and very interesting), through an excerpt from Tessa Boase’s excellent Mrs Pankhurst’s Purple Feather and on to a poem from 1`919 by Dorothy Bonarjee called Immensity.
I found myself visiting the big names of the past such as Austen, a couple of Brontes, Browning, Rossetti, Sackville-West, Woolf and Wordsworth to see what they had to say and being pleased by what I found. And then I would read on into a more recent writer and usually enjoy that too.
Just so that you know, this is not a book solely concerning wildlife, it has quite a lot about gardens and landscapes too.
There can be no definitive or perfect compilation of pieces of writing, but this is a very pleasing one.
The cover is beautiful – I’d give it 9/10.