THE infamous love affair between a celebrated Victorian diarist and a Clyro clergyman's daughter was doomed from the start a new book has revealed.

The unhappy tale of Francis Kilvert's relationship with the beautiful Daisy Thomas is cast under a darker cloud in Kilvert: The Homeless Heart by John Toman.

He reveals how Kilvert was warned to stay away from his sweetheart by her father, the Rev Thomas, who wrote in a letter, 'Give up all thoughts and hopes of Daisy'.

Reeling under the shock Kilvert wrote in his diary, 'The sun seemed to have gone out of the sky' - and the consequences were tragic.

"The price that Kilvert paid when he was rejected by the Rev Thomas was a particularly heavy one. He was denied the comforts of a wife and his own home until 1879 and within a month of his marriage in that year he was dead," writes Toman.

After the letter Kilvert and Daisy were only to meet in 'ever deepening pain and confusion' until Kilvert decided to give up his curacy and move away.

A similar fate over took two of Daisy's sisters who had all lived at Llanthomas near Llanigon.

Charlotte's hand had been sought by the curate of Glasbury, but he was also rejected by the Rev Thomas and her sister Grace was admitted to an asylum when her suitor was dismissed.

"A darker and even more disturbing element in the story ... was that the dowries of Thomas' daughters were commandeered by him and used to pay for substantial additions he made to Llanthomas," wrote Toman.

A contributor to a Kilvert Society newsletter confirmed that the occupants of the house lived in style enjoying sumptuous meals and many servants while Daisy and her sisters wore plain outdoor clothes.

Kilvert's love life and his other key experiences are examined in detail in the book that contains 35 black and white illustrations. The 10 chapters are a detailed exploration of his home, his Evangelical upbringing, his Oxford education and his literary heroes but especially challenging are the new insights into his religious and political beliefs and his relationship with his Clyro vicar.

John Toman, who spent 30 years as a teacher, lecturer and inspector of schools, first read Kilvert's Diaries in 1975 and began research on Kilvert: The Homeless Heart in 1993.

The book is printed by Logaston Press at Woonton, Almeley.