By March 2015 five book reviews had been published. All are very favourable.
1. 6 March 2015. The latest review in a top academic journal is by G.M. Ditchfield, Emeritus Professor of Eighteenth-Century History at the University of Kent. He has nothing but praise for Margaret Bird’s editing of the full set of Diary volumes. He judges Mary Hardy’s text to be “One of the most consistent, enduring and revealing primary sources of its period”.
2. 21 December 2013. Emeritus Professor Richard G. Wilson is the former Director of the Centre of East Anglian Studies at the University of East Anglia (UEA). His long, analytical review for the Parson Woodforde Society highlights the great value of Mary Hardy’s record: she gives us “A wonderful view of an upwardly mobile family”.
3. 8 June 2013. Trevor Heaton is the Books editor of the regional newspaper the Eastern Daily Press. Also a published historian, he describes The Diary of Mary Hardy as being “In a class of its own”.
4. 17 August 2013. Maggie Vaughan-Lewis is the former Surrey County Archivist and now a Norfolk-based historian. Writing in the Journal of the Aylsham Local History Society she refers to the “Incredibly rich material” to be found in Mary Hardy’s diary.
5. 25 November 2013. Ken Smith, a former editor of Brewery History, writes in the Journal of the Brewery History Society that the Diary volumes “Can be used across many disciplines”.
In addition in October 2015 Dr Alan Crosby, the editor of the British Association for Local History’s quarterly, The Local Historian, gave a penetrating and admiring summary of the value of the diaries of Mary Hardy and Henry Raven for the history of rural breweries, public houses and distribution by road. The award-winning piece by Margaret Bird published in that journal proved “Deeply rewarding in its own right”.
Feedback from readers
Apart from the reviews there has been a flow of reactions from purchasers of the Diary volumes. You can dip into the feedback under a news item fourteen months after publication.