Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Old Fashioned and from the UK

I'm calling this the old-fashioned-and-from-the-UK category. You'll recognize a few of the authors as favorites from previous posts.

By Ruby Ferguson (1899-1966) we have Lady Rose and Mrs. Memmary. Every so often I look through the titles at Persephone Books and choose a title to request through interlibrary loan. This was described as "a great favourite of Queen Elizabeth, later the Queen Mother," so I thought it would be fun to see what it was all about. The book I received was not the Persephone reprint, but an old copy, all petite and fragile. At first I had a hard time getting into it, but once I got the gist of it, I really enjoyed it. As is typical of Persephone reprints, there are tons of reviews out there, most more thorough than mine. See here and here or this review which includes photos of some of the illustrations.

I've read two more books by D.E. Stevenson (1892-1973). She was quite a prolific author, so it will be a while 'til I run out of titles! Mrs. Tim Carries On is the second of the Mrs. Tim Christie books and is very much of its time, published in 1941. I think I'm learning more about World War 2 from the little glimpses I get through these books than I have in any history class! The Four Graces, also set during WW2, was one of my favorite Stevensons so far.

Next, onto Barbara Pym (1913-1980). Quartet in Autumn is about four aging office mates, two men and two women, and how their lives weave in and out together as they reach retirement age. Loved it. The Sweet Dove Died, though written in the 1960s, was not published until 1978. I have to say, I was a little scandalized by this one! Not that it's racy by today's standards, but compared to the Pyms and Stevensons I'm used to, it was a little shocking. Much more modern, but still very good. If the title sounds familiar, see John Keats' poem which will give you an idea of what the book's about.

I spotted a vintage 1970s Elizabeth Cadell (1903-1989) on one of the library's return carts and knew I'd found another author to explore. Why? Go here to see a collection of dust jackets. How could I resist? I started with her final book, Out of the Rain, and was not disappointed. Easy, gentle, entertaining.


Anonymous said...

Have you ever gotten seriously involved with Elizabeth Goudge? I still love her books. There is definitely a magic in them, and yet I think she was very worldly wise in the ways of men and women. I discover her books when I was in my early teens and have loved them most of my life. I wanted to live in an Elizabeth Goudge book. The food, the way the rooms looked, the outside world, even the books the characters read were like a glimpse into a larger wider world.

Linda DeMars

Karen@Candid Diversions said...

I truly enjoy your book lists. I've gotten to know and love D.E. Stevenson thanks to you. I really like it when the library has either first editions or the newer reprints of her work. The 1970s editions make me feel like I ought to wrap my book in brown paper lest my friends and family wonder about my taste in books. ;)

Anonymous said...

Have you read Nevil Shute? My favorites by him are A Town Like Alice and The Trustee from the Toolroom. He also wrote On the Beach, but I haven't read the book or watched the movie.