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A Place of Refuge

A Place of Refuge

Five years ago, Tobias Jones and his wife set up a woodland sanctuary for people in a period of crisis in their lives.
Windsor Hill Wood quickly becomes a well-known refuge, and a family home is transformed into a small community. Most people arrive because of a desperate need – bereavement, depression, addiction or homelessness – while others come simply because they are dismayed by modern life.
A Place of Refuge is the story of an evolving community: the characters and conflicts, the miracles and mistakes. As the seasons turn in the bustling woodland, an ever-changing group of people try to share their money, their meals and ideals; making furniture, growing vegetables and rearing livestock. Encountering both violent antagonism and astounding generosity, the family open up not only their house, but also themselves, to the most demanding of judgements and transformations.
This book is not about a retreat from the world, but about a deeper engagement with it. Living alongside troubled guests, Jones examines the consequences of our way of life – seeing up close the scars of war, abuse and loneliness – and contemplates the ways in which nature and stillness offer solace to those in torment.

Genre: Society & Social Sciences / Society & Culture: General / Social Groups / Alternative Lifestyles

On Sale: 2nd July 2015

Price: £9.99

ISBN-13: 9781848667907

Reviews

This is no Hollywood-style tale of redemption and transformation. It is something much more honest: a warts-and-all account of what it is like to try a radically different way of living, and to not only survive, but have real triumphs . . . Thanks to Jones's sense of humour the book rarely feels "worthy", in the pejorative sense, despite the subject matter . . . Admirably erudite, charming and reflective . . . To read this book is to imagine, even if only briefly, that a different way of living might be possible.
Alice O'Keefe, Guardian
Fascinating and remarkable . . . a study of compassion in action
Sunday Times
This is an enjoyable book
Mail on Sunday
[I was] Amused and moved by this book . . . The Joneses' desire to rescue lost people is both magnificent and astonishing
The Times
Chosen as a summer read by Julian Baggini
Observer
Extremely gripping and moving . . . Often very funny . . . Jones writes beautifully about the changing seasons . . . Each night I looked forward to reading this book. Clearly there is something in our psychological make-up that longs to be part of an 'extended household', breaking bread with strangers. Or - at least - to experience it voyeuristically through the pages of a captivating memoir
Independent
There is much beauty in the story of Windsor Hill Wood, the rural idyll that Jones and Fra create together. He manages to take us with him into it . . . Jones is a sublime writer, who has the ability to bring tears to the eye
Daily Telegraph
It's a gentle meditation on a brave venture that leaves the reader uplifted and even a little enlightened
Press Association
It is Jones's humanity and gift for characterisation that make his book so captivating . . . His account rings with universal truths . . . A Place of Refuge asks difficult questions about how often mental illness is connected with the fact that 'community', as it's currently understood, is delivered through a screen
Financial Times
A wonderful book describing the bosky - sometimes bolshie - community he and his wife set up for allcomers: recovering alcoholics, addicts and anoxerics. It is written with the keenest eye for nature - human and leafy - and a wisdom learned the hard way (perhaps there is no other way)
Kate Kellaway, Observer